By Tessa Osborne
Grand Rapids Community College students, faculty and staff gathered outside in the Student Plaza to recognize veterans on Veterans Day.
GRCC President Bill Pink spoke about the importance of freedom during the ceremony and highlighted the men and women who fought for that freedom. After a moment of silence, Renee Hankins, 31, of Lowell, Michigan read a poem about veterans.
Hankins is a veteran who currently attends GRCC. She was in the Navy for four years from 2009 to 2013 and expressed the importance of today’s veteran ceremony.
“Respect and honor, there’s a lot of things that we take for granted, that people take for granted, that they wouldn’t have without the military,” Hankins said in an interview following today’s ceremony. “Being in that position, I realize that a lot of people take it for granted, but the ones that don’t, the ones that provide for us, they deserve recognition and that’s what this is about.”
At GRCC, there are students, faculty and staff who are veterans and Pink recognized them today as well.
“Today’s ceremony was another indication of how proud and supportive we are of our veterans, as students, faculty and staff,” Pink said. “We always want to be seen as a veteran-friendly institution.”
Kathryn Hibschman, 18, of Grandville, is a student at GRCC who also attended today’s ceremony. Her grandfather was a veteran from the Air Force and her great grandparents on the other side of her family were apart of WWI. Hibschman said she is glad that GRCC offered a ceremony in honor of veterans like her grandparents.
“Knowing that everyone comes together to do this is amazing,” Hibschman said.
Those who attended the Veterans Day ceremony were given a flag to place under a tree by the Student Plaza to honor veterans. The ceremony concluded with a lunch on the G-2 level of the Main Building.