On November 11, 2011, St. John's
University paused to remember the men and women who have risked all
in order to fight and protect the United States of America. On this
day, the 92nd. annual Veterans Day, the University community on
both Staten Island and Queens campuses gathered together to pay
homage to those who fought the “good fight,” and especially to all
those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect the
freedoms we all cherish today.
Organized by the St. John's Office of
Community Relations, the annual recognition of Veterans Day at the
University has become a well-attended and most respected event,
both in acknowledging the contributions of Veterans and educating
each generation of college students about the importance of such a
On Staten Island and with a blustery wind,
the Veterans Day recognition began in the early morning with a
wreath laying ceremony on the campus’ Great Lawn as a remembrance
of those Staten Island veterans who served in our country’s
military. The speaker that morning was Major James Bush of
the Army ROTC Unit at the University who gave a spirited talk about
the sacrifices of the men and women of this country. Major
Bush and other University administrators helped place a wreath at
the Grymes Hill campus site flagpole.
The ceremony on
the Queens Campus, attended by over 450 people, including Veterans
and their spouses, students, faculty, and other community members,
began with opening remarks by Joseph Sciame Vice President for
Community Relations, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, led in
unison by the ROTC. ROTC Cadet Yu then sang a beautiful rendition
of our National Anthem.
Pishcok, Commanding Officer of the ROTC Unit, and Sciame, among
others, placed a colorful wreath underneath the flag while all
those attending stood in silent reflection. After an introduction
by Sciame, Campus Minister Father Tri M. Duong, CM, led all in
prayer inasking God to remember all
those who have fought, as well as those that have perished, and
with a hope that future wars will no longer be
necessary.Veterans of the Vietnam War who also attended
warmly greeted Father Tri, who hails from Vietnam himself.
Major Pishcok, who was the speaker in Queens, reminded
everyone thatVeterans Day is a way
to remember the thousands who have died and the millions who fought
in war under the Stars and Stripes.
A local elected representative, the Hon.
Assemblyman Rory Lancman,expressed his immense gratitude
toward the University for its time honored tradition of annually
holding such a ceremony and recalled his early days as a member of
the ROTC Unit at the University.
In his closing
remarks, Sciame conveyed the University’s appreciation to the many
alumni who have served in the military. The University has
consistently welcomed recent Veterans to its many diverse fields of
study. He also related the history behind the military playing of
TAPS. Following these remarks, St. John’s administrator Robert
Pennacchio’s trumpet echoed TAPS through a somber crowd, and across
St. John’s Great Lawn.
ceremony, Cadets from the ROTC helped escort the Veterans to Bent
Hall for luncheon refreshments. At the entrance to the reception,
visitors paused to view the heroic war dog exhibition set up by St.
John’s University Alumna, Ms. Joanne Ripken.
In assessing the
importance of the day’s activities both on Staten Island and
Queens, Sciame stated: “ As a veteran myself, I am always honored
to take the lead in these annual ceremonies which celebrate our
community relations, for they bring to the core the goodness of the
men and women of America who wear the uniform. Our students
at St. John’s University learn lessons each day of their lives when
in the classroom environment, and on this one day each year they
see the veterans and their spouses, in many cases, who wear the
pride of America. For all of that we provide another lesson
of life to our students.”