Special to the paper by Amber Moreno
Imperial Valley College journalism student
As Memorial Day weekend comes right around the corner it is a kick off to summer vacation for many college students ready to get out of the class and onto the beach.
According to USMemorialDay.org, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in the service of the United States military. Nearly 100,000 high school graduates will enlist in the military right out of high school.
As thousands of students at Imperial Valley College look forward to the three-day weekend with friends, family and barbeques, others think of their loved ones who are away from home serving our country.
Yahayra Noriega, 20, a sophomore at IVC says it is important for people to remember what the day is about and appreciate all the luxuries we have in the United States because of those who have fought for our freedom.
“I have two cousins and a handful of friends who joined the Army right out of high school. I think people need to remember that there are so many young men and women fighting for our country and that behind each of those soldiers there are families who must cope with the idea of their loved ones one day out on the battlefield,” says Noriega.
Sabrina Barreto, 19, a freshman at IVC says every day she misses her brother, Alex, who is a student at West Point U.S. Military Academy and has been away at the academy from well over a year and a half.
“The whole family is very proud of my brother because West Point is a tough school to get into and a great opportunity but he is still my best friend and the idea of him ever being in danger scares me as it would anyone who has a relative enlisted in any branch of military,” says Barreto.
Some family members cope differently when they have a loved one enlisted in the military. As for Luis Gonzalez, 23, an IVC student, he has a strong sense of pride and someone to look up to when thinking of his brother, Carlos, who has been stationed all around the U.S for over three years.
“My brother is a Marine I have so much respect for his bravery I could never do anything like that,” says Gonzalez
Gonzalez says he talks to his brother as much as possible through Skype and social media and plans to have a family barbeque on Memorial Day.
“Although we don’t get to be with our loved ones physically who are away at training camps or currently in active duty, or those who gave their lives for our country, all we can do is pray for them and think of them as we all come together this weekend,” he says.
Gonzalez says he is fortunate enough not to have lost a family member who has served in the military, however, thinks that everyone could do a lot more to show their appreciation to our soldiers.
“I think those who have lost a family member in the service may feel a deeper sense of gratitude and remembrance on Memorial Day than those who have never lost a loved one or do not know anyone who is serving our country,” Gonzalez adds.
Barreto says she believes people should take a moment and think of all the men and women who have lost their lives in the service rather than consume their minds with the idea that Memorial Day weekend only means big department store sales.
“All I hear is people talking about what they’re going to be doing for the weekend or big sales that are going on but no one really talks about how we can help those serving our country. It’s kind of sad,” said Barreto, “I’ll be working this weekend and I know the mall is going to be packed with all the sales going on.”
Noriega says she has always had a strong sense of appreciation for our nation’s troops, however, now that she is older and has close relatives and friends stationed in the military, the day means much more to her.
“I am lucky to know such brave people and it is sad to know they are away but we can only hope and pray and remember all of those who lost their lives,” says Noriega.