The SJC Brooklyn community stood united as one on Monday afternoon during a special Veterans Day ceremony.
The annual event featured heartfelt speeches from SJC President Donald R. Boomgaarden, Ph.D.; Raymond D’Angelo, Ph.D., interim executive dean; the Rev. Charles Byrd ’17, who served in the U.S. Army for 18 years; D’nellio Bennett ’20, who served in the U.S. Army for 10 years; and Vincent Minan ’18 ’20, who has served in the U.S. Navy for 19 years.
Dr. Boomgaarden stood at a podium in the Tuohy Hall student lounge that was filled with students, faculty and staff, and said the ceremony reminded him of his late father, Lt. Commander Marvin Eugene Boomgaarden, who served in the U.S. Navy. Dr. Boomgaarden’s father died in August at 97.
“I am very moved and I am so thankful to all of you veterans who are here today,” Dr. Boomgaarden said. “It means so much to me as a person, and especially as the president of the College. The College has done so much to serve veterans and the College will continue to do that because it’s deep in my heart — I can tell you that. I know the sacrifices that you’ve made for this country and I value them highly.”
St. Joseph’s College offers multiple resources supporting veterans and is a participant in the federal Yellow Ribbon Program, which partially or fully funds tuition and other expenses that exceed the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
The ceremony also recognized the 75th anniversary of the GI Bill, which was signed into law by President Roosevelt in 1944 to provide educational assistance to service members, veterans, and their dependents.
Veterans Day Ceremony Remembers Veterans, Fallen Soldiers
During the special remembrance service, Bennett and Minan participated in the special flag folding ceremony, where armed forces members symbolically fold an American flag 13 times to represent the original colonies. Each of the folds holds a special meaning of remembrance. Minan offered the folded flag to Dr. D’Angelo, who recently lost a beloved veteran.
The Veterans Day ceremony also featured members of the Student Government Association handing out special coins to SJC Brooklyn veterans, as well as a pair of tribute videos.
“It was coming to St. Joseph’s that gave me the tools and the identity and the strength to become the man who I am today,” Rev. Byrd said. “It’s because of every man and woman who come through here in uniform that I am proud to stand here before you and say to you, ‘You can put your mind to anything you want to. St. Joe’s will give you the tools, the support and everything you need if you ask.'”