By Jordan Moser
Nov. 11, 2015
In accordance with Veterans’ Week, the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater Student Veterans and Military Services coordinated the annual decoration of the Veteran Honor Tree to allow students to pay tribute to both former and active service members.
The event takes place Nov. 9 through Friday and Nov. 13 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Students can tie a colored ribbon to the tree in honor of the military or a loved one who has served in the military.
The Veteran Honor Tree is displayed in the University Center and volunteers will be at the event to assist students in the choosing and tying of the ribbon.
“It will be more emotional for some people than others,” said Richard Harris, coordinator of Student Veteran and Military Services.
Each colored ribbon has a different meaning and the volunteers at the event will be able to explain to students the significance of each color and make the process easier and more meaningful for them.
White ribbons are in memory of a family member or friend who lost their life in service, blue is in honor of a family member or friend who is serving, yellow is in support and thanks to all veterans and service members, black is in recognition of someone who was a Prisoner of War/ Missing in Action and purple is if you are a UW-Whitewater student or community member who is serving or has served, according to the UW-W events calendar.
When asked about the overall intended goal for this event, Harris highlighted the emotional connections the Student Veterans and Military Services intend to make with students and faculty.
“We just want them to consider that they have people walking amongst them who are willing to, and have, made sacrifices to defend this country.”
With over 300 veterans on campus, as well as more than 100 spouses or dependents of veterans, Student Veteran and Military Services provides resources for all of who are involved in the military in one way or another. The Veteran and Service Member Lounge, located on the second floor of Andersen Library, is a place to go if students are ever in need of emotional support regarding a friend or family member who has been involved in military service.
“It’s not just about the veterans, but their families as well,” Harris said.
Donations to Student Veteran and Military Services are always accepted. If students are unable to give a monetary donation, Harris suggests writing a short letter to express one’s thanks to the veterans on campus.
“They’re very humble,” Harris said. “They don’t ask to be celebrated. They approach every task with the same mindset: ‘This is my job and I take pride in it.’”
Student Veteran and Military Services encourage students to pay their respects to the United States military service members by tying a ribbon to the Veteran Honor Tree.