Vets remembered by campus community

    In honor of Veterans Day, the Veterans Association at UCSD presented its third annual Veterans Recognition Ceremony in Price Center Theater on Nov. 7. The ceremony’s aim was to recognize and honor war veterans affiliated with the UCSD campus and community.

    Leaders from the UCSD, San Diego and military communities were present to commemorate the efforts of those who fought for the United States in foreign wars.

    About 340,000 veterans reside in San Diego, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

    Opening remarks were made by Nicholas S. Aguilar, director of Student Policy and Judicial Affairs and the chair of the Veterans Association at UCSD. Aguilar not only recognized the retired veterans, but also the 500 veterans who currently serve as reserves being deployed to the Arabian Sea.

    The ceremony’s planners intended to feature two keynote speakers, Rear Admiral Jose Luis Betancourt and San Diego Police Chief David Bejarano. Unfortunately, both Betancourt and Bejarano were called away unexpectedly for meetings.

    Speaking for Betancourt was Captain Donald Bowling, commanding officer at Point Loma Naval Base.

    Bowling addressed the importance of remembering our veterans while also briefing the audience on the importance of a strong military in defending the freedom of our nation.

    “”There are evil people who are undermining our way of life and our democracy,”” Bowling said.

    He also touched upon the present military operations in which the military is currently engaged, such as Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Southern Watch in Iraq.

    Bowling also reminded those present that veterans serve as teachers, mentors and community service workers. The impact of veterans on the community at large, he said, is vitally important.

    Speaking on behalf of Bejarano, who was called away unexpectedly to a conference on homeland security, was the newest UCSD police chief and military veteran Orville King. King read a letter written by Bejarano for the occasion after offering a few personal remarks.

    “”Veterans keep our community running, growing and safe,”” Bejarano wrote in his letter.

    After the speakers gave their remarks, the UCSD Veteran of the Year Award was presented to Al Hilde by last year’s recipient, Jorge Rios. Hilde not only received the medal, but was also awarded certificates of recognition from the City of San Diego, the Mayor’s office and the Board of Supervisors, among others.

    Each of the speakers was given a plaque thanking him for his appearance at the ceremony. Closing remarks were made by Karen Roberts Gardner, the communications coordinator for the Veterans Association at UCSD. Roberts reiterated the importance of remembering the sacrifices veterans made and continue to make in order to better our community and country.

    The ceremony closed with a medley of anthems from the different service branches of the armed forces and the retiring of the colors by the Post 3788 Color Guard.

    The Veterans Association at UCSD, the campus organization that sponsors the event each year, aims to “”raise awareness and promote respect and appreciation for the many sacrifices and contributions made by our veterans,”” according to the organization’s constitution.

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