An Army ROTC member holds an American flag

Veterans, service members honored during dual campus events

The UNE Community came together on both Maine campuses to honor those who served in anticipation of Veterans Day

As the first snow flew outside, students on both of UNE’s coastal Maine campuses gathered inside to honor those who served in war in anticipation of Veterans Day.

On the University’s Portland Campus for the Health Sciences, students gathered in Wing Student Lounge to write the names of veterans in their lives on red, white, and blue badges and pin them for display. Flags were later planted on the campus’ Alumni Green in honor of each name written. In Biddeford, a ceremony held in the Danielle N. Ripich Commons brought together dozens to honor the lives and contributions of veterans both near and far.

At the Portland gathering, Greg Sileo (D.M.D., ’24), a member of the Army Reserves, dedicated a marker and flag to his roommate, who served in Korea.

“I think it's really important to recognize our veterans,” said Sileo, who plans on becoming an Army dentist. “Being a service member myself, hopefully one day someone will think back and do the same for me.”

Jasmine Syed ’24, a fellow College of Dental Medicine student, said her service member friends inspired her to participate in the event.

Small American flags are planted in rows on UNE's campus green in Portland in honors of Veterans Day

“There's a lot going on in the world, and our servicemen and women are doing a lot to protect us,” she said. “Having a lot of friends who are joining the U.S. Army and who are going to be out in basic training in the next coming year, I think it's important to recognize them and give them the credit that they deserve.”

Small American flags are planted in rows on UNE's campus green in Portland in honors of Veterans Day
Red, white, and blue ribbons are laid out on a table

The Biddeford Campus ceremony — organized by the UNE College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNE COM) Association for Military Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (AMOPS) and the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) — brought together UNE students, student veterans, participants of the Army ROTC, and several community members for remarks and remembrances in gratitude to those who have served in the Armed Forces.

The event featured remarks from UNE President James Herbert as well as Col. Jen Fulmer, a retired Air Force veteran with 24 years of service, and Chief Sean Curry, a 22-year Navy veteran and local business owner.

Following the event, Fulmer discussed the ways civilians can honor veterans outside of the annual holiday.

“To understand the importance of what veterans fight for and why we were willing to lay down our life for those freedoms, you have a responsibility to serve in your community and to give back in some way and participate and contribute to the freedoms that you enjoy every day,” she said.

Members of the Army ROTC pose for a photo
All speakers pose for a group photo
Attendees gather at a table
A student plays the violin
ROTC and Navy students pose for a photo

Nicholas Miles (Medical Biology, ’24), USG president, echoed Fulmer’s sentiment.

“Every person who’s a citizen of the United States is affected by what veterans do,” he remarked. “Taking the time to understand what they do for our country, understanding how it affects them, and offering support where you can is incredibly important. I think that taking action and doing your part to serve your community is a great way to show your appreciation.”

As a member of the Army ROTC, Ellie Curtis (Applied Exercise Science, ’26), remarked how Veteran’s Day is a time to not only honor veterans for their service but to listen to their stories and understand the part they play as members of our society.

“I think it’s important to ask questions and to allow veterans to share the stories about their lives and their time in the service,” Curtis said. “Whether they want to discuss anxieties and difficult experiences, or they want to share something in their lives that they’re excited about, it’s my goal to always be the person that they can turn to.”