Pierce Pioneer

8 ways to spend Memorial Day 2021

What is memorial day? Why do we celebrate it?

America’s tradition of honoring fallen soldiers is not new to the 20th Century. Dating back to the Civil War, which took the lives of over 600,000 men, citizens have mourned and gathered in remembrance of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Originally known as Decoration Day, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, founded the holiday on May 30, 1868. During this time, it was known as “Decoration Day” for the act of decorating the graves of buried soldiers with flowers and reciting prayers.

When the country was faced with WWl and WWll, the Decoration Day commemorated the deaths of soldiers from all wars instead of just the Civil War. From 1868 to 1971, the nation honored and mourned on May 30, but in 1971, Memorial Day was established as a federal holiday and moved to May 31.

Today Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and attending parades. It is a time to be thankful for our freedoms, honor the men and women who sacrificed their lives, and to give back to those who serve. There are many ways to observe this holiday, here’s a few to get you started for Memorial Day 2021.

Things to do for Memorial Day 2021:

  • 1. Give thanks to veterans

    Suggest calling a loved one, family friend who has served, or their family and thanking them for paying the ultimate sacrifice. Or if you want to send a letter or package to a soldier that you don’t know, think about participating in organizations such as A Million Thanks and Operation Gratitude.

  • 2. Visit a cemetery

    Pay tribute to those who lost their lives fighting for our country at a veterans cemetery near you. The Tahoma National Cemetery, is a great local cemetery to visit and honor Washingtonian veterans. If you can’t find a local veterans memorial, you can sponsor flowers to lay on a veterans grave through Memorial Day Flowers.

  • 3. Watch a documentary

    To get in the memorial day spirit and understand what our veterans have gone through, watching a war documentary is a great way to learn about our history. Here is IMBd’s Top 100 list of the best war documentaries of all time.

  • 4. Donate to veteran charity/non profit

    To directly help veterans and their families, consider donating to a charity or non-profit organization of your choice. Research trusted groups and determine what cause you want to support, either being homeless veterans, the wounded, their families or those struggling with PTSD.

  • 5. Shop veteran owned business

    Shopping veteran owned businesses on Memorial Day or any day, is an opportunity to support our heroes financially and keep our communities flourishing. Veterans Owned Businesses and Washington Department of Veterans Affairs are easy portals to find a business near you.

  • 6. Fly a flag

    A simple way to pay your respect and show love for America is flying a flag. This could be a large flag placed on the side of your house, or smaller flags stuck in the ground. Here’s a few things to remember when displaying your flag and performing proper Etiquette.

  • 7. Take a moment of Silence

    No matter what your plans are for Memorial Day, take a moment of silence at 3 p.m. local time for The National Moment of Remembrance. Taking one minute of silence to send your thanks and prayers to all who have served and or are currently serving, will remind you of what to be thankful for in America.

  • 8. Get outdoors

    If you’re looking to get outside and enjoy the nice weather, taking a hike is a great way to appreciate America’s beautiful landscapes that veterans have died to protect. Also, get together with family and friends for a barbeque or a picnic to honor our veterans’ sacrifices and celebrate our freedoms in a way for all to enjoy.

Rising Tensions in 2020

Pixabay.com / Photo Credit

Students and Professors on campus weigh in their personal thoughts on the U.S.-Iran conflict

Beginning 2020, President Donald Trump authorized an airstrike that killed Iran’s major general Qassem Soleimani; an act not approved by congress. Iran responded by firing missiles at bases in Iraq hosting United States troops. No Americans or Iraqi people were harmed in this attack.

Trump directed the immediate deployment of troops to the Middle East a day after the attack on Iran. While Trump stated there would be no further attacks after Iran’s strike, a number of Pierce College students are still affected by this news. Pierce College students who are veterans or active duty have differing opinions with the ongoing conflict between the U.S and Iran.

Julio Russell, an 11-year U.S. Army veteran, knows how difficult it is to be deployed, having served two tours in the Middle East. “It takes a toll on soldiers, being away,” said Russell. “You come back home and everything’s the same for you, [but] not for us. They teach us how to go to war, they don’t teach you how to come back from war.” 

Russell adds it doesn’t serve America’s best interest to get into another conflict with Iran. “There’s other conflicts and other things that are more important than Iran,” he said.

According to BBC News, the tense relationship between the U.S. and Iran date back over 60-years. The initial contact with Iran was in 1953 when the U.S. and the British intelligence staged a coup to remove the citizen elected Prime Minister, Mohammed Mossadeq. Within that time, the relationship has been inconsistent, with efforts from both sides having been unsuccessful.

Pierce College American history professor David Thomas, P.h.D., said the Iranian Hostage Crisis in 1979 and 9-11 are significant events impacting relations that have vacillated over the last 7-years. “To Iranians, we’re a bully who overthrew [their] government,” he said. “To Americans, they’re a terrorist who kidnap people.”

Even though the next steps for the U.S. and Iran is unknown, people’s opinions and assumptions come to light online. Russell’s day-to-day wasn’t directly affected other than the social media responses from what he refers to as “Facebook keyboard warriors.”

“Are you driving your kid to the recruiter line right now,” said Russell. “If they’re not there, boots-on-ground, don’t tell me nothing. I’ve been there, I’ve done that.”

Twitter sounded off after the attacks. The potential of World War 3 was the topic of all tweets, with politicians sending out information and the American people creating memes, hoping to soften the blow. Furthermore, citizens were curious if this would put Trump’s impeachment trial on hold.

According to CNN, in Dec. 2019, the House of Representatives passed both articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, has held off pressure to send the articles to the Senate.

Tony Rondone, a 26-year Air Force veteran, said he expects the conflict to be contained in the region. “[Iran] did what they were gonna do to save face because they don’t want a war with the U.S.,” said Rondone. “Keeping that in mind, we shouldn’t be provoking them, but you do what you have to.”

Thomas said there’s a chance that it erupts into a further war in the Middle East. “It’s unlikely for a world war to happen because many other countries would be wary of getting involved.”

Along with this, provoking Iran sends a message to the world about how America operates. “I worry what it looks like assassinating an official from another country when we’re not at war,” said Thomas. 

Iran has been active since Soleimani’s death, with protesters in the streets and their military on guard. The destruction of a Ukraine commercial airplane, killing 176 passengers with many of the victims being Iranian and Canadian, brought even more protesters out. This leaves the U.S. in a difficult position, attempting to find a way to possibly resolve this battle.

Although they were not an option in the past, Josef Kasprzak, a 13-year Air Force veteran, said a peaceful talk may be a solution to get down to the root cause. “Not all Americans are going to treat [Iran] the same way as they did in the past and vice versa,” he said.

Thomas finds a solution to this to be unlikely, with Trump unwilling to abide by the Iran Nuclear Agreement President Barack Obama signed. “I think it was a mistake to back out of the nuclear treaty to begin with,” he said. “So ideally, we could return to that sort of relationship or agreement.”

There is uncertainty among the Pierce College community whether this dispute will be resolved, if at all. Nevertheless, the history and tension between the two countries will leave a lasting memory on Americans and Iranians alike.

Conflicts in Iran and its Impact on Pierce College Students

Jabin Botsford / Getty Images / Courtesy Photo
President Donald Trump departs after addressing the nation from the White House on Jan. 8, 2020.

An update on what has happened, what we know so far, and what students on campus need to know regarding the conflict

With the year 2020 having barely been around for a week, the world has already been faced with a plethora of concerning dilemmas; one of the most notable conflicts being between Iran and the U.S.

With the state of the matter currently up in the air., Mmany people, soldiers especially, may be wondering what might happen next or where things will go from here. Many questions remain to be answered, but there are some answers that can be given to those at Pierce College who may be concerned.

When did this all start?

Recent conflicts between the two countries began in late December 2019, according to a timeline created by npr.org. Kataib Hezbollah, a militia group with supposed ties to Iran, attacked a K1 military base near Kirkuk, an Iraqi city. This attack resulted in the death of an American contractor and injury of several other American and Iraqi personnel.

Days later, a mob of Iraqi protesters stormed a U.S. embassy in Baghdad, an attack President Trump and White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham confirmed to be organized by Iran. “Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities,” the President tweeted on Dec. 31. “This is not a warning, it is a threat.”

On Jan. 2, President Trump conducted an airstrike on a Baghdad airport, killing Qassem Soleimani, a respected general in Iran. “General Qassem Soleimani has killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more… but got caught!” tweeted the President.

This preemptive strike was met with an immediate attack by Iran late Tuesday night on Jan. 7, when Iran led an airstrike that hit two bases in Iraq holding U.S. troops and coalition forces. Soon after, Javad Zarif, Iranian diplomat and Foreign Minister, tweeted a response regarding the attack.

“Iran took and concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter,  targeting base from which [a] cowardly armed attack against our citizens and senior officials were launched,” tweeted Zarif.

Are we going to war?

As of the time this article has been posted, the United States of America and Iran do not intend on going to war. Early Wednesday morning on Jan. 8, President Trump spoke via a livestream on whitehouse.gov stating that he does not wish to take things further. “The United States is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it,” said the President.

Furthermore, following the airstrike on Tuesday, Zarif tweeted Iran’s stance on the matter. “We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.”

While it is still too early to determine where either countries will go from here, it is safe to say that this conflict shouldn’t lead to any immediate attacks.

What would be a cause for war?

In the case of the U.S. and Iran conflicts, the President of both nations would have to formally declare war in order for this to happen. War crimes, such as the killing of civilians or otherwise unjust murder, and land invasion would also be cause for war by both parties. 

However, as stated above by both the President and Iranian diplomats, the possibility of these acts happening outright are not likely.


Can inactive duty soldiers be pulled back if tensions continue to rise?

Soldier’s who’ve recently gotten out might be concerned as to whether or not these conflicts would be enough to get called back for deployment. Fortunately for those not wishing to do so, the odds of this happening are very unlikely.

As referred by thebalancecareers.com, it is required for all enlisted to serve at least eight years of service, whether on active duty or as an inactive reserves, or Individual Ready Reserves. However, it would take extreme circumstances for those who ha’ve just gotten out to be called back in.

A state of emergency would have to had been issued by the President in order for the military to initiate an IRR recall. If this happened, inactive soldiers could be held for as long as needed. Without a state of emergency declared however, the President can only call less than 200,000 reserves and IRR members, which can only be held for up to 400 days max.

In the event that an active or inactive duty soldier is called for deployment while attending Pierce College, how will that affect things?

Pierce College will not penalize students with outside obligations such as a deployment. So long as students communicate with both their professors and registrations about their predicament, leaving will not do any harm to a student’s transcripts. Students will also be able to continue where they left off upon returning.

In some cases even, if a student is able to do online classes overseas, Pierce will make that available as well. But if this is not available, Pierce will replace the class on a student’s transcripts with an incomplete, I, which will have no effect on their overall GPA. 

Pierce may also allow the student to finish the class early with whatever grade they currently had at that moment.

Who can active duty soldiers and veterans talk to on campus regarding any questions?

Questions regarding education and financial concerns with anything VA related can have them answered via the Veterans Services Office on Fort Steilacoom’s campus located on the third floor of the Cascade Building.

Questions regarding transcripts, class withdrawal, or other related concerns can be brought to the Registration Desk located on the third floor of the Cascade Building to the right of the Welcome Desk.

Pierce College students reject White House policy on transgender service members

Alyssa Wilkins and Candee Bell / Staff Photo Illustration

Military transgender ban awaits Maryland judge’s decision

In the military, an individual’s background is irrelevant. Everyone is a service member, with the only expectation being service for country. Be it on the frontlines or behind a desk, the military values anyone with both the motivation to work and the drive to help their country.

For some, the military presents a way out or a fresh start, an avenue of escaping a troubled home or a difficult past. However, for transgender people, this is not an option.  With the recent proposed ban on transgender service members, military service may be completely out of reach.

The Pentagon released a memo last February, stating there were “substantial risks” to allowing transgender people into the military. The White House would later come forth with a policy to ban transgender service members from the military.

The new ban faced numerous injunctions, or authoritative warning, as it circulated through the lower courts of the legislative system and had been on hold.

I don’t think it’s a ‘liberal’ take or a ‘democrat’ take to say that a president who doesn’t value all human life is garbage.”

— Isaac Morgan Pennoyer

In January, the Supreme Court voted to remove most of the injunctions blocking the ban. Currently, a Maryland judge’s decision will determine whether the new policy will go into effect, according to the U.S Department of Defense’s Jan. 22 press release.

Members of Pierce College Fort Steilacoom’s Queer Support Club voiced their opposition to joining the military given the ban on transgender service members in the military.

Club president Isaac Morgan Pennoyer, concurred with them, stating that he had decidedly kept away from joining the military after three of his aunts had suffered severe mental  and physical trauma while serving.

Pennoyer also said the ban impacted his opinion of the government in a negative way.  “I don’t think it’s a ‘liberal’ take or a ‘democrat’ take to say that a president who doesn’t value all human life is garbage.”

Prior to 2016, it was illegal for transgender people to serve in the military. President Barack Obama worked to change that and succeeded, despite strenuous opposition. In July 2017, President Donald Trump went against this in a tweet. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory…and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail,” he stated.

Trump put out a revised version of the ban, which would allow people who were serving as openly transgender before the Pentagon memo’s release to continue.

I think there shouldn’t be a ban. There needs to be stipulations.”

— K. H., Army veteran attending Pierce College Fort Steilacoom

Previously, the military’s policy towards transgender and other members of the LGBT community was “Don’t ask; don’t tell.” In other words, transgender soldiers would be treated the same as everyone else so long as they appeared to conform to their gender identity. However, if a service member was revealed to be transgender, their superiors would deal with it as they saw fit, typically resulting in discharge.

Marco Aguirre, an Army veteran currently attending Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, spoke about the climate around transgender people in the U.S. military. He stated that he believed much of the military still harbored anti-transgender beliefs. However, he also expressed that treatment of transgender service members had certainly improved since when he first joined, and that they were still making strides when he had left the military.

Another Army veteran attending Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, going by the initials “K.H.”, stated transgender service members should be medically cleared before deploying to avoid complications during active duty.

“I think there shouldn’t be a ban. There needs to be stipulations,” he said drawing on both personal experience and educational training they had received from the military in 2017 about transgender service members.

Contrasting with Aguirre, K.H. stated that he believed most of the military to be rather accepting of transgender service members.

According to RAND Corporation’s 2016 findings, there are between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender service members serving in active duty.  This does not account for transgender personnel in the military who are not open to sharing information about their sexuality.

March 4, 2019 / Vol. 52 Issue 5

Military Spouse Appreciation Day

Why does this holiday exist?


With Military Spouse Appreciation Day approaching, I asked; what is it about this niche group of people that earns them a holiday?

         “Stressful” is a word that comes to mind when thinking about the lifestyle of a military spouse. One might be quick to point out that everyone has stress. The challenges of a military life create a unique family environment remarkably different from the average American.

         Spouses of all genders leave the comforts of home to head into the unknown. They accompany significant others who have stressful careers. So “stressful” in fact that Forbes magazine reported,” the most stressful job in 2016 is that of an enlisted military member.”

         Being a military spouse isn’t always a glamorous life. Whether it’s deployments, moving either to a new state or new country every few years, or saying goodbye to the friends, you just made, being married to the military is, to say the least, tough.

         Ryan Dunblazier, a current Pierce College student and former Specialist in the United States Army, is currently a military spouse. His wife Crystal made the transition from civilian spouse to active duty military after he separated from the service. 

         When asked about which side is more difficult, spouse or soldier, Ryan replied,” From a family side it (military spouse) can be tough. I didn’t realize how much my wife did while I was in. After seeing everything that needs to be done I almost lost my shit!”

         Almost losing one’s shit seems to be a common occurrence amongst military spouses. Heather Armour, a lifelong military spouse, gives some insight on how to survive in this environment.

          “Some spouses never know anything about military life other than what they’ve seen in the movies, and they thrive. This is because they participate, they contribute, and they excel.” The old saying, it takes a village, rings true in the military community.

         Billions of dollars are spent annually on programs to assist families in the military worldwide. While a large percentage of that is on healthcare and housing; other family programs are threatened by budget cuts and force restructure.

         These programs are essential to cultivating a sense of normality in an abnormal environment. Other programs available to family members, according to armymwr.com, include travel, intramural sports, child and youth services, and outdoor recreation.

         Melanie Simpson, a military spouse and wife of Professor John Simpson adds some further perspective about the difficulties of being married to the military. “can be difficult, but people are more aware of the lifestyle nowadays than my parents’ generation.”

         Spouses who come from a military family background seems to make the transition to military spouse a little easier. Heather Armour says, “These spouses come from a military family or military career and bring a wealth of knowledge and information to share.”

         Melanie Simpson, when asked if she thinks the programs and resources available today correlate to the broader understanding of military life, stated. “Most definitely compared to a generation ago.”

         No matter what background a military spouse originates from, help is available to spouses in all branches. With the right perspective, being a military spouse has benefits beyond compare.

         Being part of something bigger than one’s self makes such sacrifices worthwhile. Military Spouse Appreciation Day is the least we can do because military spouses deserve thanks every day of the year.

RallyPoint 6 guides vets through transition

The program helps pick up where the military fails to help troops after leaving service.

Transitioning out of the military can be hard on both the service member and the family. RallyPoint 6 (RP/6) helps ease that transition. RP/6 helps build a bridge between the military and civilian life. In the past year, over 2500 individuals have been helped by RP/6.

RP/6 was started by two veterans who wanted to help other veterans by making sure they have what they need to succeed. Founder and CEO, Anne Sprute, and Founder and Director, RJ Naugle lead a team of organized individuals to reach out to the community, businesses, and schools to gather up the resources and help needed for the veterans. Other members of the Board of Directors include Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson, former Lakewood Mayor Doug Richardson, and Pierce College President Denise Yochum.

The program is set up on the concept of 8 basic pillars; employment, education, housing, finance/legal, family support, VA benefits, volunteerism, and health/wellness. When a veteran goes to the RP/6 website or in person to the Lakewood office, they start a questionnaire to help direct them to the proper Scout which is like a case manager.  

“The ones that we see the most, that occur the highest, are employment, education, and disability/compensation,” said US Marine Corps Veteran Tony Belot, RP/6 Director of Programs.

Together the Scout and the client will form a plan for the member to work towards. In each situation, the member will be given a ‘warm handoff’ which basically means the Scout will call up the school or other agencies and tell them that the veteran will be showing up at what time and what their game plan is.

The education program is connected to over 20 different colleges from around the area. An education guru, who works for RP/6, knows about each college programs, which helps the veteran understand what they need to succeed in college.

“Each college contributes to the pay of the education guru,” said Yochum “They represent all colleges. That way we can be insured that the service is focused on the individual and not just one college.”

If a veteran wants to give back to the program, RP/6 has made it simple to volunteer. Three ways someone can volunteer is working around RP/6 locations, at community engagement events, and community service projects.

“Volunteerism is a great way to fill the gaps in resumes while you are in school,” said Belot.

RP/6 is expanding to places around the nation. Working with the USO, United Services, RP/6 Transitions Centers are opening up near or on bases, but with funding from the USO. This allows veterans gain access to more resources closer to them if they are not close to Washington State. Currently the transition centers can be found in Colorado Springs, Fort Campbell, Fort Hood, San Antonio, and Norfolk.

A fellowship program allows veterans to work for RP/6 for a ‘tour of duty’ which goes for 6 months. This helps the veteran build up their resume, skills, and help understand the civilian workforce better. The fellowship program is a paid program that helps supplement their income.

“We want more student veterans to know about the Fellowship program,” said Belot. “It is a great way to give back and help other veterans.”

To keep up with the ever evolving times of social media, RP/6 has a Digital Media team that consists of fellows that operate it. This gives a vital connection for users to pass along information to those who need it the most.

“They can follow us on RallyPoint 6 on Facebook,” said Kevin Henry, Digital Media Fellow. “We post jobs and other resources on there, along with our website, for veterans to apply too. We even have a Linkedin user group.”

Veteran shares story of sexual assault

Military rape was topic of Veterans day activity

Holly Buchanan Staff Writer

Willie Duhon

Willie Duhon went out to have a few drinks at a bar alone, and when he got back to the barracks that’s when it happened. “I never saw it coming. I never knew who they were. I saw the fist and that was it,” Duhon said.

Duhon is a veteran and was a guest speaker during Pierce College’s screening of the documentary “Invisible War” on Nov. 6 in the Performance Lounge. “Invisible War” addresses the ongoing issue of sexual assault in the military.

Duhon grew up in Compton and was the oldest of seven. “I always had to be in charge because I was the oldest,” Duhon said. After growing up in Compton and realizing that every corner “someone wants to pick at you.” Duhon wanted to get away, which led to him joining the Army.

“This was my world; this was my life. I wanted to make Mom and Dad proud,” Duhon said.

After being stationed in Korea with guard duty, bunker riot control and riot simulation, Duhon said that “after all that is over everyone is ready to celebrate.” Duhon said he “got caught slippin” (drunk) and went back to the barracks, and that’s when he was sexually assaulted.

“The blood rushed through my head and I passed out again, it was like the worst thing I ever felt,” Duhon said. He stayed in his room the whole weekend terrified. After Duhon was sexually assaulted he told people who saw his bruised face that he got into a fight.

“I stuck to that story. I couldn’t tell anyone – not me, not the man, not the sergeant Willy”, Duhon said.

Duhon wondered who he would tell and if he did tell who he would be and what he would be. After over 30 years Duhon shared his secret with a doctor.

“While I was in the veterans hospital, I was told you got to let it out. The doctor asked me about MST (military sexual trauma). So I said yes,” Duhon said. It was “just a few years ago” when Duhon decided to get help and he shared, “I’m here today because I was able to get help. A lot of vets don’t know where to go.”

According to the 2012 Department of Defense’s annual report on sexual assault in the military, over the past six years the Department estimates fewer than 15 percent of military sexual assault victims report the matter to a military authority.

The report also states that in the fiscal year of 2012 the Military Services received a total of 3,374 reports of sexual assault involving Service members as either victims or subjects, which represents a six percent increase from the 3,192 reports made in the fiscal year of 2011.

The annual report stated that in the 3,374 reports of sexual assault 3,604 were victims. According to the Department of Defense there are more victims than reports because an Unrestricted Report of sexual assault can include one or more victims, one or more subjects, and one or more crimes. Therefore, the number of reports received in a year does not equal the number of victims and the number of subjects stated in the reports.

Duhon didn’t have the chance to tell his parents what happened to him before they passed away and that was one of his biggest regrets. “The best thing you can do for us (vets) is listen,” Duhon said.


On Nov. 5 Joint Base Lewis-Mcchord held a ribbon cutting ceremony for their sexual assault resource center. Katrina Kilmartin a SHARP (sexual harassment/ assault response and prevention) victim advocate stated, “JBLM is the first base to have a sexual assault center.” JBLM SHARP Resource Center offers a 24 hour hotline and is open Monday- Friday 7:30a.m. – 4:30p.m.



7th annual military swap meet

Anuilagi Nguyen 
Staff WriterPhilipino Heritage Society

Over a dozen vendors—many dressed in interesting period attire—and history buffs shared their vast collections of military memorabilia at the annual Military Swap Meet held at Ft. Steilacoom this past weekend.

Lawrence Bateman, president of the Historic Ft Steilacoom Association, coordinated the Swap Meet. The Military Swap Meet has been successfully held at Ft. Steilacoom for the past seven years.  One of the displays, The Philippine Scouts Heritage Society, had Art Garcia on-hand to discuss the role Filipinos played during President McKinley’s 1897 administration and their importance during the Spanish-American War.

President McKinley directed Major General Henry Ware Lawton to subdue the Philippines and to gain control of the Philippines from the Spanish during the Spanish-American war.  Major General Lawton’s claim to fame was his association with the Apache great, Geronimo. General Lawton’s troops were successful in gaining Geronimo’s surrender. Ironically, a Filipino sharpshooter killed General Lawton in the Philippines, whose commanding officer held the name Licerio Geronimo.

Another display featured memorabilia from Fort Stevens, Oregon. The Fort Stevens display belonged to Aaron Buda. Fort Stevens became forever etched in history because of a Japanese Submarine attack on the fort during World War II.  Aaron’s display included a WWII yearbook of the Oregon Guard and other WWII memorabilia.

Located next to Aaron’s display was a Navy Reservist, Bryan Ilyankoff’s myriad and impressive assortment of cameras dating as far back as the 1940s. Bryan’s expertise knowledge of each camera was evident when he explained how certain cameras worked and the features of each one.

Bryan commented that the majority of his collection came from eBay. He stated that due to the popularity of certain types of cameras, finding them in antique shops was an extremely rare find.  Bryan Ilyankoff is currently serving as a photojournalist in the Navy Reserves at Navy Air Station Whidbey Island.

Lawrence Bateman, the current president of the Historical Ft Steilacoom Association, is prior service Army, having served with the 82 Airborne Division. He participated in the 1989 Invasion of Panama and the Gulf War.

The building that the Military Swap Meet was held in is 1 of 4 of the original quarters for soldiers in 1849.  Fort Steilacoom was an established American presence in the Puget Sound. Because of the California Gold Rush, rapid settlement of the west called for American presence and the need to protect American interest in the Puget Sound area. The state now owns Ft Steilacoom and hosts Western State Hospital.

Anyone interested in displaying their historical memorabilia or hoping to se;; military gear should Contact Ft. Steilacoom at [email protected] or by calling Ft. Steilacoom at 253-582-5838.

From stars and stripes to raiders

Lloyd Shisler
Staff Writer

Pierce College is a school that facilitates a lot of military vets.  We owe our lives to the sacrifices that these people have made for the U.S. population. There are a lot of questions that come to mind when it comes to being a vet. Being prior Air Force myself, I know a civilian can only imagine what it’s like being a vet. I’m including dependents of course. If you have ever been a dependent of military personnel, I know you can relate to the kind of sacrifice that is made. Dependents sacrifice as well.

A question was asked about how vets felt when making the switch from active military to going to school. One thing you should understand about being active military is, you’re always on the go. From your everyday job, the saying goes, “Never expect a day off.”  From your job, Commander calls, briefs, CBT’s, QTP’s, WBT’s, upgrade training, job training, rank training, volunteering, PT, extra duties and the list goes on. You can see how just with this little bit, military members are always on the go.

I asked a few vets what the transition was like for them from stars and stripes to raiders and why they chose to do college. Vet J. Braylock said, “Financial transition was difficult because I have six kids and a mortgage. Therefore it was very scary not knowing how everything financially was going to work out. I went from making $66,000 a year to almost nothing, but due to my disability and limitation, I had no other choice but to go back to school. School was a blessing from god and the knowledge was empowering.”

Vet Brian Joeseph said, “After being out of the military for over twenty years, there was not much transition. When work got slow, I needed to get more training and being unemployed, the vet benefits was still there even after all these years to help get me back into school.”

Vet Carmen Wesseling said, “Hectic, nervous, excited, motivated, I did not want to waste time to go to school so that’s why I started right away. One of the main reasons why I got out of active duty was, so I can go to school and pursue my career.”

There are many reasons why vets pursue their college education. In ways, some of these reasons are not so different from civilians and why civilians go to school. Many people who have never been affiliated with the military in anyway have a tough time trying to understand were vets come from. A lot of times when vets get out of the military, there is no more structure for them. Vets have to create their own structure for themselves. This transition can be very disorienting.

When a vet is out of the military, they don’t know what to do with themselves. Something like college is a “blessing” in disguise, a structural transition from the military to the civilian world. So when you see a vet, thank them for their service and sacrifice. We wouldn’t have freedom if it wasn’t for our troops.

Respecting sacrifices, small or large city-wide

The National Veterans Day holiday brings appreciation and free food to Veterans everywhere

Valerie Ettenhofer
Staff Writer 

Veteran’s Day is often observed as a somber, respectful time, meant for showing appreciation to those in our lives and communities who have served. In Lakewood, a city that is strong in its military pride, the holiday is all of this and more.

The area itself observes a Community Covenant, ensuring that the quality of life for veterans and active duty military is as high as possible. This Veteran’s Day, the area around Pierce College offered many ways to celebrate the commitment of the armed forces to our country.

Free and discounted meals are one offer that veterans take advantage of each year. Dinner with the family offers a chance to connect and reflect in a pleasant environment. Chili’s, Famous Dave’s, Denny’s, Applebee’s, Little Caesars, Krispy Kreme, The Outback Steakhouse, Sizzler, Red Lobster, Red Robin, Olive Garden, TGIF and even Hooters give away thousands of free meals, drinks or appetizers to anyone with a military ID.

For those who don’t have a loved one in the military, Veteran’s Day still offers a chance to educate oneself on the lifestyle and challenges of military families. On Friday Nov. 9, author Joan Brown held a book signing at the Lakewood Barnes & Noble. Her memoir, “Move—and Other Four Letter Words”, lovingly describes the highs and lows of life as a military spouse.

Several traditionally serious events were held around Pierce County as well, including Auburn’s 47th annual Veteran’s Day parade, the induction of two V.A. veterans into the Puget Sound Wall of Heroes, and more. The Wounded Warrior Project, a foundation that supports injured service members through donation, receives the most attention at this time of the year.

The chance to give thanks and give back was noticeable around campus as well. For one week, the Student Life wall near the Cascade building cafeteria became a veteran’s wall, plastered with messages and heartfelt thanks to those who have served the United States.

Messages on American flag papering conveyed sincerity from military spouses, children, siblings, friends, strangers, teachers and even some members of the armed forces themselves. Almost all of the statements—long or short, cursive or scrawled print—contained the word “sacrifice” and humble, heartfelt “thank yous.”

Appreciating our warriors

There have been many occasions where some Americans have mistakenly thought that Veterans Day is a day set aside by America to celebrate those lost in battle defending our country or those who became missing in action. This definition fits Memorial Day, the day to honor our country’s war dead.

Veterans Day on the other hand is the day where Americans can celebrate and honor all of our veterans, both living and alive. Veterans Day is mostly regarded to celebrate our living vets dedicated service to our Nation.

“It’s important to me. A day of remembrance for those who have fought (and those who died) serving my country,” Rachael Gorka, member of the National Guard 96th Troop Command, said.

Gorka served a one year Tour of Duty in Iraq in 2003. “Being in the military has influenced my views on the celebration of Veterans Day because it’s provided me with an inside look,” Gorka said.

Gorka is not the only one who has used their experiences in the military to influence their views on Veterans Day and how Americans go about showing their respects to our veterans.

Pierce’s own Travis Hokey served for four years in the Army as a medic. While he was not stationed overseas, he served in Georgia, Texas and, Washington State.

“Vets Day holds more meaning to me now than it did before I was in the Army,” Hokey said.

“The military has taught me so much more about life and so have the places I’ve been to,” Hokey added,

Hokey reflected on how in both Georgia and Texas, “Every day down there is Veterans Day.”

This act of patriotism has brought forth many different debates on the men and women defending our country, and is acceptable, as the practice of our right to freedom of speech is being put into action, but is this having a negative effect on our vets?

“I’ve been up in Seattle and been jeered at,” Gorka said.

“It’s always hurtful when I’m making a sacrifice to defend their freedoms that they’re abusing,” Gorka added.

“It’s hard to celebrate Veterans Day in some areas up here because of liberal views,” Hokey said.

As Gorka stated, the irony and truth of the phrase “biting the hand that feeds” often rings true in many Americans anti-war protests and demonstrations.

One could argue that everyone should respect and celebrate a veteran, regardless of their beliefs; however that would be ridiculous when we are all born with the right to our own beliefs and are given a voice so that others may hear and perhaps appreciate them.

Should it be expected that all Americans are to set aside their beliefs and opinions just for one day out of the year?

“It’s tough to say; we stand in the front line defending the freedom we enjoy as Americans, so it would be absurd to demand or expect a celebration,” Gorka said.

“I think as long as they can respect our decision to sacrifice and serve, just as we respect their right to agree, disagree, celebrate or protest what we do, that would be great,” Gorka added.

Veterans are not always faced with such a clash. In fact, many Americans are more than willing to take a few seconds out of their day to shake the hand of someone who is either currently serving or who has served in the military and thank them for their service.

Some will even go so far as to buy them a meal or a cup of coffee. Again, the practice of Americans using their rights that have been defended by these men and women is being put in to action.

It is not written in American law that schools absolutely must take November 11th off in order to celebrate Veterans Day. Many school boards choose to and often might place certain activities pertaining to the holiday during the week to honor American veterans. Our nations committed and loyal veterans are yet another example of Americans practicing their rights that have defended this for decades in the past and for decades to come.

If not for our veterans, we would not be able to enjoy these rights that have been bestowed upon us.

Keeping that in mind, it would also be wise for us not to abuse these rights so harshly and to always be grateful for what we have; keeping respect for our veterans who have cherished these rights so dearly that they were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that we would never lose them.

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