Leading up to Veterans Day on Nov. 11, UCLA will host a weeklong series of events to honor veterans, increase public understanding and appreciation for the challenges they face, and heighten awareness of the opportunities available to them on campus.
Events on and off campus will range from volunteer opportunities and the screening of an award-winning film to UCLA’s annual ceremony on Nov. 8 when the campus comes together to pay tribute to veterans and remember the sacrifices they have made. The weeklong observance of Veterans Day will close out an initiative launched last January by Chancellor Gene Block to highlight veterans’ contributions and the extensive programs and resources created at UCLA to assist veterans.
On Monday, Nov. 4, there will be a Veterans Ally Workshop for all staff and faculty members who want to learn more about the military culture and best practices to help veterans succeed in college. Sponsored by the UCLA Veterans Resource Office, the presentation will be held from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in Student Activities Center conference room 1.
UCLA is the first major university to partner with Operation Gratitude and participate in its project to write letters of appreciation to current service members. There will be four upcoming opportunities to assist Operation Gratitude.
On Tuesday, Nov. 5, "High Ground," a documentary film about 11 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who join an expedition to climb 20,000-foot Himalayan giant Mount Lobuche to heal their emotional and physical wounds, will be screened in Covel Grand Horizon Room, Salon A. A panel of student veterans will talk about the healing process and the transition back to civilian life. The event, scheduled from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., will be open to anyone with a Bruincard. There will be refreshments and giveaways for attendees. You can register here.
On Thursday, Nov. 7, the UCLA Veterans Resource Office will host an open house and social hour from noon to 1 p.m. in Student Activities Center room B44.
Also on Nov. 7, the UCLA Volunteer Center will organize Operation Gratitude letter-writing events at two locations so that Bruins can let members of the military know that their service is greatly appreciated. UCLA is the first major university in the country to partner with Operation Gratitude. Students, staff and faculty may drop by the UCLA Wilshire Center’s ninth floor conference room from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to pen a letter of appreciation. Or anyone on campus wishing to participate can go to the James West Alumni Center from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
UCLA Alumni Association’s San Fernando Valley Bruins are hosting an event to assist Operation Gratitude from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Nov. 9. As they have done many times before, Bruins will gather to assemble Operation Gratitude care packages at the organization’s headquarters at the Army National Guard Armory in Van Nuys. To volunteer, sign up at this website. Children must be at least 12 years old to participate.
Bruin volunteers assemble care packages at Operation Gratitude's headquarters in Van Nuys.
On Friday, Nov. 8, the weeklong salute to veterans will culminate with a ceremony at 11:30 a.m. at Wilson Plaza with Alessandro Duranti, dean of the Division of Social Sciences in the College of Letters and Science, and two UCLA alumni — a World War II veteran and an officer with the California Army National Guard who is also a law student at UCLA.
Speaking will be UCLA alumnus and retired staff member James Klain, a Navy veteran who served during World War II as a communications officer in the Pacific aboard a landing craft repair vessel during the invasion of five islands.
Also participating will be 1st Lt. Yun Hee Kim, a graduate of the UCLA Army ROTC program who is now attending UCLA Law School. She is the acting commander and executive officer for the 40th Brigade Support Battalion, Distribution Company in the California Army National Guard. From 2005-2007, she served as team leader in the 145th Engineer Company in Afghanistan.
After the ceremony, a veterans resource fair will be held until 1 p.m. in Wilson Plaza where representatives of veteran-centered campus programs will be available for questions. Letter-writing for Operation Gratitude will continue at a table manned by the Volunteer Center.