Members of the UC Merced Veterans Club asked students to help them plant about 400 flags around the school’s iconic statue on Wednesday in an early observance of Memorial Day.
The semester ends 10 days before Memorial Day, which is May 25, so the club decided to plan an observance before finals start for students.
Club President Don Edwards said the club hoped to remind UC Merced students that some of the people they are sitting next to in class have served in the armed forces. The mini-American and POW-MIA flags were a way to get students thinking, he said.
The Marine Corps veteran said he wanted the display to get students to do something tangible to honor and meet veterans. “A vast majority of our population has no interaction with military members,” he said.
Edwards, a political science and psychology major, said about 30 veterans attend UC Merced. Another 150 students are dependents of veterans.
Tuition benefits, work study programs and other services are available to veterans at UC Merced. The children of veterans could also benefit from the GI Bill awarded their parents, he said.
The children of disabled veterans could also get all of their tuition waived.
Edwards, who is originally from Napa, said it’s important to the club that the university’s population has positive interactions with veterans.
For more on the veterans services offered at UC Merced, call the Veterans Education and Transition Services office at (209) 228-8387, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sun-Star staff writer Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or email@example.com.