With Veterans Day nearing, the office of Veterans and Education Transition Services has quite the week lined up — both for veterans and those who want to honor family, friends and neighbors who have served.
“Every year, Veterans Week is getting better and better,” said Nancy Laffin, president of the UMaine Veterans Association and a work-study student in the VETS office. “We’re trying to get more structured and get [the word] out more that there are veterans here. We try to do a whole week so we can educate.”
The schedule of events is listed outside the VETS office in the Memorial Union and in the announcements and alerts folder on FirstClass. The week begins with an opening ceremony on the mall and the raising of the POW/MIA flag, along with yellow ribbon hanging to honor a veteran.
“[In addition], we’re having the VETS Mobile Center parked by the [Collins Center for the Arts] to have them talk to veterans about benefits and what type of services we can offer,” Laffin said.
Tuesday’s highlight includes a veterans’ panel, which will focus on taboo issues with veterans.
“It’s for veterans awareness and it will be a panel of four [UMaine student] veterans and a moderator and there will be basically a question-and-answer session on things like what veterans are comfortable talking about, what kind of questions you shouldn’t ask [veterans],” Laffin said.
Also on Tuesday is a resume workshop for veterans, led by assistant director of the Career Center and Vietnam War veteran Paul Gagnon.
“We’re going to be having a resume-writing workshop for veterans, because sometimes it’s hard to put what they’ve been doing in civilian terms,” Laffin said.
Wednesday is highlighted by an information fair, which, according to Laffin, will be useful for veterans who yearn for more knowledge about particular benefits.
“Wednesday is the veteran info fair so they can know what their benefits are, if they want to increase their disability ratings and how to do it — it’s a lot of information and resources that are veteran-specific,” Laffin said. “Some groups going are the VETS Center, the Disabled American Veterans, the Bangor Career Center, the American Legion and the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.”
On Thursday, the Cole Land Transportation Museum will be on campus to provide walking sticks to veterans who can provide their DD-214, an indicator of veteran status.
Friday, all students and faculty have the opportunity to attend a luncheon with Ann LePage, wife of Maine governor Paul LePage, in the Bumps Room from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. An introduction from Dean of Students Robert Dana will precede LePage’s talk and a number of other guest speakers are expected at the event.
The weekend is full of veteran-oriented events, culminating with the Veterans Day Parade in Bangor on Monday.
“Saturday’s the ROTC 5K and the military appreciation football game at 2 [p.m.] and veterans and their families can get tickets to that game,” Laffin said.
With Veterans Day falling on a Sunday, no events are planned until the observation of Veterans Day the following day.
“On Monday, the UMaine Veterans Association is going to march in the parade in Bangor and there will be a barbecue on the mall [following the parade].”
Although the majority of events are geared toward veterans, Laffin insists non-veterans can play a part in the week’s festivities.
“The Veterans Awareness Panel is specifically for non-veterans to learn what being a veteran is like and what to say and not to say,” she said. “There will also be people at the info fair that aren’t veteran-specific.
“If your father or grandfather was in the military, hopefully that is enough to get you to come out and support.”