St. John's University Observes Veterans Day 2013

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

St. John’s University honored the brave veterans from all military branches on the 94th Veterans Day on Monday, November 11, 2013 with ceremonies on the Queens and Staten Island campuses. Organized by the Office of Community Relations, this annual recognition of all those who have valiantly served our country has become a well attended event by local veterans, students and student veterans, as well as faculty, staff and administrators.

The University’s day long observance began early in the morning on the Staten Island Campus with a wreath laying ceremony on the Great Lawn honoring all the Staten Island Veterans who have served in the military. The ceremony was presided over by Joseph Sciame, Vice President for Community Relations, a veteran himself, and included remarks by Assistant Vice President and Executive Director of the SI Campus, Gerard McEnerney, also a veteran.  Lee Covino, on behalf of the SI Borough President, The Hon. James Molinaro, presented St. John’s University with a special proclamation.

The Staten Island ceremony was highlighted by remarks from CPT Eduardo Zerwes, Brigade Operations Officer (US Army Reserve) who said: “American Service Members and their families, from combat veterans to recruits stand ready across the world so that freedom may continue to endure and prosper on our ‘shining city on the hill’. I ask you to remember them, their wives and children, and remember the fallen in your thoughts or prayers.”

At Noon on the Queens Campus, nearly 250 people, including veterans and their families, Cadets from the Red Storm ROTC Battalion, students and administrators gathered in front of St. Augustine Hall for a ceremony that included American songs and the singing of the National Anthem by the University’s Mixed Chorus. The ceremony began with a welcome and remarks by Mr. Sciame, which was then followed by a profound invocation by Fr. Gerard Luttenberger, C.M., Executive Vice President for Mission at the University. After being led in the Pledge of Allegiance by Student Government Vice President, Mark Benevides, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Pishock, Commanding Officer of the Red Storm ROTC Battalion joined Mr. Sciame in placing a memorial wreath by the flagpole. Following a newly established tradition, the Red Storm ROTC Battalion presented this year’s honoree, Associate Professor and Vietnam Veteran, Mark Prendergast, with a folded American flag in honor of his duty to his country.

Reflecting on the day’s events, Sciame closed the ceremony by stating: “People around the country paused today to remember those who fought, and especially those who died, and St. John’s is believed to be one of the only universities in the country to hold a Veteran’s Day event like this – and we are proud to assemble those veterans from the New York area to participate in this fitting tribute.”  

The day’s ceremony concluded with a live playing of “Taps.”  A luncheon followed for all veterans and their spouses, assembled with the student veterans of the University.

For more information about the University Veterans Day observances, contact Paul Lazauskas, Associate Director of Community Relations, at St. John’s University by calling (718) 990-1912 or e-mail inquiries to lazauskp@stjohns.edu. 

Interested media representatives may contact Elizabeth Reilly, Director for Media Relations at St. John’s University by calling (718) 990- 5789 or e-mail inquiries to reillye@stjohns.edu.