Since September 11, 2001, over 6,700 service men and women have perished in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn.
Beginning the morning of November 7, 2013 the College of Staten Island CUNY Veterans Support Services (VSS) will place 6,700 American flags, each bearing an individual’s name, on CSI’s Great Lawn in remembrance of the fallen.
The two day ceremony will give students, faculty and staff, as well as the Staten Island community, the opportunity to join VSS in placing the flags between the hours of 7:00 am and 5:00 pm on November 7th, or walk among the rows of flags and reflect on the sacrifice of all of those who served on November 8th.
The program’s conclusion November 8th will include a Retreat Ceremony which begins at 4:45pm with the singing of the National Anthem, student members of the Disabilities and Veterans Affairs Commission offering thanks to those who served followed, and remarks by President Dr. William Fritz. At 5:00 pm a bugler from Bugles Across America will perform Taps while a color guard from Fort Wadsworth lowers the American flag outside the Center for the Arts, Building 1P.
Ann Treadaway, Director of the VSS and organizer of the event, credits her inspiration for the ceremony to the Student Veteran Alliance at Marywood University which began their Flags of the Fallen program last year at which they read the names of all of the service members who have perished since 9/11.
“Hopefully, our ceremony will inspire other schools in the future,” commented Mrs. Treadaway, a Veteran herself. “We all have lost friends,” she added, noting that many of the members of her staff and CSI students want to personally place flags of people they knew.
VSS, and event co-sponsors Disabilities and Veterans Affairs Commission, CSI Student Government, Veterans Educational Transition Services and the Armed Forces Club, have also been working with the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the American Legion, the United War Veterans Council and community based veteran organizations in order to put together this solemn event. Several Coast Guard volunteers from Fort Wadsworth and the Farrell High School student group, Hearing our Heroes, will also be participating in the placing and removing of the flags.
“There has been a lot of community participation,” said Mrs. Treadaway commenting on the outpouring of support from members of the Staten Island community. “Odds are many college aged students probably don’t even know a vet,” continued Mrs. Treadaway. “We are doing this to remind everyone of the ultimate sacrifice some of our service men and women have made as well a reminder to our current vets that no one is forgotten.”
In conjunction with the event, VSS has also begun the Flags for the Fallen: Military Service Scholarship Fund in honor of our fallen heroes. The scholarship will go to assist student veterans who are not eligible for state or federal veteran education benefits. All who would like to donate are urged to visit and select Flags for the Fallen in the Designation drop box.
For any questions regarding the event or the scholarship please contact: Ann Treadaway, M.A., Director, Veterans Support Services at (718) 982-3108.