The youngest and oldest veterans cut the cake: Steven Pierce ’20, left, and Christopher Edwards, member of Facilities Administration in Student and Campus Life.

Cornell and local military veterans hold annual celebrations

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John Carberry

Students and professors from Cornell’s Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) and Cornell student and staff veterans gathered for lunch Nov. 8 to celebrate the 242nd birthday of the United States Marine Corps and Veterans Day, Nov. 10 and 11, respectively. As is traditional for the Marines’ birthday celebration, the oldest and youngest veteran in the room participated, using a sword to cut the cake.

Barbara Thompson, Cornell’s student veteran advocate since August, hosted the lunch and cake-cutting in Willard Straight Hall.

Thompson helps student veterans stay organized academically and transition from military to college life. She also connects student veterans to on-campus resources, including registrar and financial aid staff members certified to process military benefits.

As of the beginning of October, 15 military veterans were enrolled as undergraduates and 54 as graduate students at Cornell, while another 10 undergraduates and 30 graduate students are in active service and reservist positions. Ninety-three undergraduate students are enrolled in ROTC courses. About 300 staff and faculty members self-identify as military veterans or reservists.

Other events happening on or near campus to recognize Veterans Day:

  • The Cornell Undergraduate Veterans Association handed out green light bulbs Nov. 9 on Ho Plaza as part of the national “Greenlight a Vet” initiative to show support of veterans.
  • On Nov. 10 starting at 6 a.m. at Barton Hall, ROTC will hold a Marine Corps physical training session, running to five different locations on campus and executing 242 reps of an exercise at each location, ending back at Barton. The traditional Marine cake-cutting ceremony, open to the public, also will close that event.
  • McGraw Tower will be lit green for Veterans Day.
  • Ithaca’s Team Red, White and Blue will hold a fun run/walk on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, starting at 9:30 a.m., at Ithaca’s Dewitt Park.

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Nancy Doolittle