“Probably one in five students you pass has some sort of military affiliation,” said Msg. Thomas Banister, Senior Military Instructor for the ROTC Program at Umaine.
The UMaine Veterans Association is holding their first Veterans Recognition Luncheon as part of the school’s Veterans Week.
First Lady Ann LePage attended the event. She believes it’s important to support those who serve our country. “They’ve given up so much for us, we need to do whatever we can to support them” said LePage.
Many of the student veterans are moving from military life to academic life, a transition that isn’t always easy.
“They don’t really do the whole campus thing. They don’t do the college thing, so we’re trying to get them to actually experience college and have a family all ready when they get here,” said Nancy Laffin, President of the UMaine Veterans Association.
Legislation, like the G.I. Bill, can make the transition smoother. Congressman Mike Michaud said “If they’re a mechanic in the military that should count for something. They shouldn’t have to start from square one.”
With so many Veterans on campus, some of the students are coming together to start a petition. They want the university to cancel classes each year to honor those veteran on campus.
“It’s just nice to be able to observe Veterans Day as a holiday and not have to go to school or work all day” said Laffin.
The Veterans Association is also planning to have more events throughout the year to make the students feel at home on campus.