BC takes time to serve its veterans

Bellevue College's veterans raise their hands during the flag ceremony.
Bellevue College's veterans raise their hands during the flag ceremony.

On November 10, Bellevue College hosted a Veterans Day ceremony and potluck in honor of past veterans, present veterans, and students who are veterans.

Maggie Whetsel, Director of Public Safety and a Marine Corps veteran, organized the event.

Whetsel began the ceremony by thanking veterans for celebrating this day at Bellevue College.

She continued by thanking all of the sponsors who helped organize and fund the event:  Multi Cultural Services, Advising, Student Programs, Athletics, BC’s Library Media Center, Tom Pritchard (Vice President of Student Services), Institutional Advancement, the Political Science Club, Food Services/Events Office, Campus Operations, the Veterans’ Club, Financial Aid, and the Veterans’ Office.

Jean Floten, President of Bellevue College, was the guest of honor and spoke at the ceremony. “We’re very proud to be a veteran-friendly college,” said Floten.

 She talked about the importance of veterans and how they have continuously risked their lives to protect our freedoms. She then asked everyone to give a moment of silence to reflect on the contributions of past and present veterans. 

President of Veterans’ Club, Andrew Baker, was introduced, and wished the Marine Corps a happy birthday, which has now been active for 234 years.

He also thanked Bellevue College for putting on and supporting the event, as well as those who attended the ceremony for recognizing friends, family and others in the community who are veterans.

Veterans provide one of the most important services to our country. “When you choose the military, you are really choosing a way of life,” said Whetsel.

Veterans Day has been a celebrated federal holiday since 1919, after the signing of the Armistice, which ended World War I.

Veterans are constantly sacrificing for our country. They give up their time and often have to be away from their friends and family.

Many of them give the ultimate sacrifice of their bodies. Veterans don’t always come back whole either physically or emotionally, and some have even lost their lives.

Veterans have very different memories and accounts of the world. They have seen both happy things and sad things alike. Just by being members of the armed forces, they have a completely different perspective on life.

 “As veterans, we’ve seen things that most people haven’t seen, and we’ve felt things that most people haven’t felt, and have seen things that hopefully other people will never have to see,” said Whetsel.

Whetsel also said that veterans bring maturity, teamwork and leadership skills to Bellevue College, which enlightens other students who are not veterans and may not understand how important the veterans are to our country.

At the conclusion to the ceremony, a cake was presented in honor of all of the veterans, and it was served according to Marine Corps tradition.

It has become a tradition for the youngest member of the Marine Corps who is present to accept the first piece of cake, because he or she represents the future of the armed forces.

It is then customary for the oldest member of the Marine Corps to accept the second piece of cake, because he or she represents past veterans.

And finally, the guest of honor is presented with a slice of cake as well.

After the ceremony, a potluck funded by faculty and staff was held in the A building for all veterans and their families.