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Silent March to honor veterans

By Samantha Murphy
On November 8, 2011

This Thursday, the Armed Forces Organization on campus will hold its third annual Veterans Day Silent March. The march will begin at 11:50 a.m. in front of Chase Hall and continue to the Veterans Memorial Rock outside of Bacon Hall.

Leading the march is the Color Guard from the 107th Airlift Wing. Once at the memorial, a member from the Buffalo State Ensemble will play the National Anthem. A flyover will be conducted by Lt. Col. Gregory Miller of the 107th Airlift Wing in a C130 aircraft.

A catered reception, sponsored by the office for Continuing Professional Students, will then follow in the Rockwell Hall Atrium, where three guest speakers will present. They are Colonel Mark Murphy, a retired member of the US Air Force and a Buffalo State alumnus; Dr. Hal Payne, vice president of Student Affairs; and Nathan Rey, chief justice of United Students Government.

William Langer, a current senior here at Buffalo State, is the acting president of the Armed Forces Organization. Langer is one of the 1,300 student veterans here on campus. He has served nine years with the US Army, including three tours in Iraq, and now serves in the National Guard.

"Veterans are the people doing a job that nobody else wants to," he said. "We need to remember the sacrifices men and women have made for us in order to live freely in our great nation."

Douglas Beltran, assistant coordinator for veteran services, also helped to organize this event.

"The purpose of this event is to demonstrate that there is a large student veteran population on campus," Beltran said. "A lot of these veterans do face challenges coming back to civilian life, and we're letting them know they're not alone."

Beltran is a veteran himself, having served in the US Army for almost five years, including two tours in Iraq. He said he recognizes the importance of honoring our veterans.

"A lot of these people have sacrificed," he said. "It's a token of our gratitude in saying thank you for all of your sacrifices and all of your hardships, whether it's being separated from your family for months to giving the ultimate sacrifice, life."

Nathan Rey will be representing the student veteran population on campus during the ceremony. Rey is also a student veteran, having served in the Marine Corps. His speech will discuss the challenges that many student veterans face in readjusting to daily life and balancing being a student and a veteran.

"We're quite different from your typical student," Rey said. "We put our lives on the line, something not a lot of other people share. It can be a tough transition and the school needs to recognize that."

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come join in the march to help recognize and honor our veterans. 

Samantha Murphy can be reached by email at murphy.live@record.com.


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