It was a week long celebration of our nation's servicemen, past and present as American International College held a series of events during "Honoring Our Heroes Week, Nov. 5-9.

The week began with an admissions event, "Boots to Books" an informational session for veterans, campus tour, panel discussion and complimentary lunch.

Wednesday, November 7 was Military Friendly Campus Day. Events included a lecture on the "Trauma of War," by the Rev.James Munroe of Springfield's Christ Church Cathedral. Drawing on his own combat experiences, Rev. Munroe, former member of the Marine Corps, and Purple Heart recipient for wounds received in Vietnam, addressed the causes of PTSD, its symptoms, and the possibilities for healing.

"Being defenseless in the face of violence is a profound experience, it leaves a residue of tight fisted caution against anything that might hurt you," Rev. Munroe said.

There was also the presentation of Military Friendly Campus award, as AIC was recently recognized for its commitment to veterans. The list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools which are doing the most to embrace America’s veterans as students.

Col. Adele Hill, 439th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron commander at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee, was the keynote speaker at the annual Veterans Day Celebration on Friday, November 9 at 11:00 a.m. on the campus quadrangle.

Tyler Geffert

"I command the best of the three largest aeromedical evacuation squadrons. We are air reserve components, which mean we are part timers for the most part. My squadron has gone in and out of the warzone several times bringing home wounded warriors and ill warriors so that they could be with their families. There is no job more rewarding," Col. Hill said.

Many AIC veterans attended this year's ceremony, including Earl Gregory, class of 1959, and Kenneth Geromini, class of 1968, 1972, members of the AIC Veterans' Committee who joined student leaders for the presentation of the wreath at the AIC Veterans' Memorial.

There was also the reading of the winning essay by AIC freshman Tyler Geffert on the topic of "Freedom is not Free--the Contributions of Veterans."

"To some, Veterans Day is just a day off," Geffert said. "To me it is a day to give back to those who gave us more than we can imagine."

For his winning essay, Geffert will receive a $250 gift certificate to the AIC Bookstore.