By Kayla Tucker – Editor-in-Chief
Grand Rapids Community College held the second annual Veteran’s Day observance this morning on the south end of the Dr. Juan R. Olivarez Student Plaza.
Today’s event was dedicated to Michael Cesternino, a GRCC alum and Navy veteran who died Aug. 17 at the age of 23.
The ceremony began with the presentation of colors by the Central Innovation High School Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).
After an introduction by Jason Schueller, member of the Veteran Success Team on campus, GRCC student Parker Evans read the poem, “I am a Veteran,” by Andrea C. Brett, which was read by Cesternino last year.
President Ender said there over 300 veteran enrolled at GRCC.
“Today’s ceremony is just a small way that we can thank our veterans for their service to our country and recognize the dedication and effort they now bring to GRCC as our students,” Ender said to the crowd. “They all serve as a wonderful example to us all and we are proud of their achievements both in and out of the military.”
A wreath was then placed in the grass in honor of Cesternino.
GRCC student Tori Porter, 18, of Grand Rapids, was one of the attendees holding a mini-flag in the crowd at the ceremony today. She said she felt as a young person, it was a good way to pay back veterans for their service.
“I think just being a part of things on campus for Veterans’ Day is a way to give back, (and) show respect,” Porter said.
Both of Porter’s grandparents served, one in Vietnam, and one in Korea.
Porter said she planned on reaching out to her grandfather today.
At the end of the ceremony, the crowd placed American flags in the ground surrounding the wreath.