For student veteran Andrew Romo, watching the raising of the American flag during a campus ceremony to commemorate Veterans Day, which will be observed on Monday, Nov. 11, stirs memories of Sept. 11, 2001, and when he served his country in the Marine Corps.
Romo, a human services major who was among the speakers at the Nov. 4 “Morning Colors” flag raising ceremony, hosted by Cal State Fullerton’s Veterans Resource Center, shared that the flag also symbolizes hope.
“The flag means hope when we raise it up in the shining sky, when we help our fellow allies and when we come together as a nation of proud Americans.”
CSUF President Fram Virjee delivered welcome remarks, noting the importance of paying tribute to the flag and to the nation, and also honoring those who raised their hands to defend their country.
“November 11th marks a day when we offer our respect and gratitude to that service to our nation,” Virjee said. “It’s a day when we remember that all have given some, and some have given all.”
Cal State Fullerton is dedicating the month of November to veterans to show support and gratitude, especially to Titan student veterans and military-connected students — meaning those who are active service members, veterans, spouses, dependents and supporters.
The Veterans Resource Center, which serves 1,186 military-connected students, including about 420 veterans, is hosting activities this month for student veterans and their families.
Major Michael F. Coerper, executive officer of CSUF’s Army ROTC Titan Battalion, who teaches in the military science program, also shared remarks. A graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Coerper deployed three times, twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, including the liberation of Iraq in 2003, and once in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
“Veterans Day is a huge emotional event for a lot of us who have served,” said Coerper, who at age 16 knew he wanted to join the military. “The American flag stands for so much. It brings freedom to the oppressed, it brings food to people who have gone through significant emotional events like natural disasters, and it brings justice and retribution to others.
“The American flag, every time I look up at it, provides me with peace, a sense of purpose and tranquility. It helps me know we have done so much for others — and we will do so much more.”
The flag raising ceremony, led by the Army ROTC Titan Battalion Color Guard, was attended by students, staff, faculty members, administrators, ROTC cadets and university police officers, including Chief Raymund Aguirre. Guests included Rep. Gil Cisneros, a Navy veteran; Marine Corps veteran and alumnus Jose Guevara from Rep. Lou Correa’s office; Marine Corps veteran Chris Aguilar from Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva’s office; and Marshall Thomas, California State University director of Active Duty and Veterans Affairs.