With the three-day Memorial Day weekend coming up, veterans and their supporters on campus want everyone to take a moment to reflect on the many contributions made by service men and women, both those who have passed and those who are with us.
"In preparation for the Memorial Day holiday, we wanted to highlight how veterans touch the lives of the UCLA community as current and former students, family members, friends and community members," said Andrew Nicholls, a UCLA senior and veterans coordinator at the Veterans Resource Office in the Bruin Resource Center on campus.
On Wednesday, May 22, in the Court of Sciences and on Thursday, May 23, in Bruin Plaza — from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both days — organizers will be asking members of the UCLA community to write the names of service members or words of support for the veteran community on a six-foot-high Memorial Wall. Made of plywood and painted black, the wall will be built as three connected panels to accommodate as many people as possible who wish to sign. It was inspired by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.
"For Memorial Day, we wanted to provide something interactive, something that people could connect to," added Nicholls.
For passersby who do not know a service member, they can "adopt" one by choosing a name from an available list of service members associated with UCLA who have died.
"Adopting a veteran may be even more powerful, because maybe the person signing has never thought about this before," said Nicholls.
The Memorial Wall is a project organized by UCLA’s Military Veterans Organization, the KIA WIA Foundation, UCLA Red Cross, the Community Emergency Response Team, UCLA Army ROTC and Operation Mend's undergraduate student support group.
Organizers are hoping this can become an annual event, with panels being added to the Memorial Wall each year.
"We’re hoping that people connect to the fact that there are veterans on campus and that they probably know someone who has served. We should remember that on holidays like Memorial Day," Nicholls said.