Veterans speak in commemorative ceremony


The Marine Corps Color Guard were present at the Veterans Day Ceremony Monday, Nov. 10. Guest speakers, including veterans, told stories and spoke about the emotions of serving the United States. Photo credit: Denny Cristales

Katherine Grijalva

Associated Students of Cerritos College President Miles Aiello explained why Veterans Day is an important event and why Cerritos College transformed this event into a “bigger, better and stronger” level of gratitude for veterans on campus and in our community.

“I find it ironic that men and women would sacrifice their lives to protect our freedom, our country, yet the day that comes to commend them, there is hardly any gratitude, hardly any sincerity toward them.”

ASCC and the Resource Center’s first correlation of Veterans Day took place on Monday, Nov. 10, at 11 a.m. in front of the steps of the Burnight Center Theatre.

Many of the diverse factors that took place in the event included guest and veteran speakers, the Marine Corps Color Guard, the Cerritos College Concert Band playing the “National Anthem” and “America the Beautiful” and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), a compassionate care to all those grieving the death of a loved one serving in our Armed Forces.

The event coordinators were hoping for a 300 plus audience turnout, but according to Master of Ceremony and U.S. Navy Master-at-Arms Veteran Hope Garcia, the goal was exceeded.

“I think the event had a great turnout. It took a lot of hard work and dedication.”

The event was sponsored by the Graphic Design Club, Artists’ Society, ASCC and the Cerritos College Foundation, all which contributed with art pieces, a silent auction, snacks and essential tools needed to make the event a success.

Half of the proceeds from the silent auction go to the Wounded Warrior Project, a group that helps injured veterans and their families with medical issues.

Guest speaker and Commander from the United States Navy Arthur C. Fong said, “Today is about all the men and women who fought to protect our freedom … it is important to serve our country and our community.”

He received a token of appreciation from ASCC, honoring his hard work and courage.

Cerritos College student and Marine Corps veteran, Alfred Valapatino, was one of the four Veteran Speakers at the event. He was Vice-President and President of the Veteran’s Club on campus.

“It feels great and I am honored knowing this school is paying tribute to all the veterans. it feels enlightening.”

The event also taught the audience the value of being in the military; they do the work that no one wants to do in order to provide freedom to our country.

Job opportunities and educational opportunities were mentioned that can be practiced in that field.

During the commemoration, a member of the T.A.P.S. and a student from Cerritos College partook in the folding of the U.S. 13 flag-fold ceremony, an act that gives each fold a special meaning.

The appearance of the final fold of the flag results in a cocked hat, which reminds people of the soldiers who served in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today.

Suleyma Castillo, commissioner of Inter-Club Council, said, “There were a lot of good stories from the speakers. I don’t have to have veteran loved ones to put myself in their place and feel appreciation.”