A “Field of Flags” waved on Saddleback’s quad near the Veterans Memorial, placed there for Veterans Week, Nov. 10 – Nov 13 to commemorate fallen soldiers.
President Tod Burnett began the event by addressing the gathering students and faculty, followed by a brief address from Dean Terrence Nelson who then introduced Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran, Col. Joe Snyder.
“The United States military, the one percent that protects the other 99 percent, is a group of patriotic Americans, that the country is so thankful for,” said Snyder. “We have so much respect for what you have done. The military is the one thing in this country the people can rely on, that they can believe in, and that’s a good thing, and we want to keep it going.”
Snyder then went on to point out the display of flags strategically placed in the quad on the ground saying they represented past comrades.
Nelson then recognized Mr. and Mrs. Len Rugh who have been involved with Saddleback College for more than forty years. Nelson referred to them as a “staple of this college.” Len Rugh is a Vietnam war veteran who wanted to bring recognition and awareness to our prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action.
“Today, there are still 83,000 unaccounted for men and women, since World War II,” Nelson said.
To that end, the Rues dedicated the Prisoner Of War/Missing In Action flag that now flies atop the flag pole near the Veterans Memorial and will now become a permanent land fixture at Saddleback College.
Lastly, student Marine Corps OIF/OEF Veteran, Gregory Jaborski spoke to the attendees about the difficult transition that takes place after serving one’s country and re-entering into the academic and business fields. There are over 200 veteran students enrolled at Saddleback College.
“Remember there are brave men and women sacrificing their time and ultimately their lives,” Nelson said. ” Keep them in your minds.”
Veterans Week celebration continues Wednesday, Nov. 12 with a “Combat Fitness Course” and fund raising BBQ including special guests from the Orange County Freedom.