Roll Call Event Commemorates Fallen Service Members
- By Jeffrey R. Wakefield
On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, members of the University of Vermont community honored the more than 6,200 veterans who sacrificed their lives in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars by participating in Remembrance Day National Roll Call, joining more than 170 campuses across the country.
UVM’s Veterans Collaborative Organization and the Student Government Association sponsored the event.
Beginning at 7 a.m., 25 students, faculty and staff read the names of the 6,313 service members who sacrificed their lives in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The reading, which took place at a podium in front of the Bailey/Howe Library, took about seven hours to complete.
American flags honoring each of the fallen veterans were displayed on the green in front of Bailey Howe. At 2 p.m. a nationwide synchronized moment of silence was observed.
The following quotes came from people who participated in or observed the event.
“I think the most powerful thing today has been seeing people walk by, turn around, read the signs saying what the flags are for and just stop and pause for a second. It’s really meaningful, and if we just got them to stop for one second and think about what all these flags really mean, and the names that are being read, then we did something awesome. That’s just really powerful. “
--Collier Harmon, sophomore nursing major from Belmont, Mass. Harmon is a trained Army medic and is deployable at any time.
"I think it (shows) the dedication of people who sacrificed everything. It’s good to honor them. I grew up in a different environment. They had the draft. Everyone was focused on this sort of thing. But in an all-volunteer military, it doesn’t come down to reality for all that many people.”
--Richard Cate, vice president, Finance and Administration. Cate is a veteran.
“It’s absolutely beautiful. To see the reactions on people’s faces as they’re walking from class to class, and they stop and they look and they see the flags, and they’re shocked at the amount of people who have given their lives in the last ten years. It’s just wrenching, and I feel like people are realizing … they’re realizing.”
--Ryan Little, president of the Veterans Collaborative Organization, junior business major from Chicago.
“It definitely raises awareness. It’s a pretty powerful presence right now. I think it hits close to home in Vermont because we have the National Guard here and the Air Force over there (in Plattsburgh) and I think it’s really important that we give them (veterans and the troops) a lot of support today.
--Christine Lefavour, senior, classical civilization major from Montpelier, Vt.
“People are very aware of the war. I just don’t know if they have a connection to it. It’s more that, ‘We’re against it, it’s about oil, this and that.’ But with all that aside, these are people, they’re our age, they were going to fight. I’m in college right now, and those people are … they’re out fighting. It’s a different choice for them, but I definitely respect them.”
--Eric Trancyngor, junior environmental science major from Lennox, Mass.
“It’s a lot of people. I have friends who are serving. One just left. Usually when you’re walking down here, you don’t think about that. You’re thinking about the problem of, like, you have to study for a test. It’s good.”
--Will Hofmann, sophomore psychology and business major from Waterbury, Vt.
“I really appreciated it. It was just a way to express some appreciation and respect for these poor souls who have lost their lives in the service of the country. I’ll tell you one thing I was particularly impressed with: so many of the names were Hispanic. And I think we haven’t made the connection between that and the immigration issues that we fight so much about. I think there’s a connection there that we ought to be thinking about. I think a lot of those folks have paid a special price and maybe haven’t gotten a lot of thanks for it.”
--Robert Manning, professor, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. Manning, a veteran, was one of the readers for the National Roll Call.