Glendale College Plaques Honor Brave Americans

El Vaquero Staff Writer

Brave Americans who served in foreign wars and those who lost their lives on 9/11 are commemorated in often-unnoticed plaques at the entrance of the John A. Davitt Administration Building.

“I never noticed these plaques before, but it’s good to know that they’re here reminding us of our heroes,” said Qinglin Tang, 25, a business major.

Tang read one plaque aloud: “To remember brave Americans who served during the Korean War, 1950-1953. If people bring courage to the world, the world kills them to break them….” quoting the Nobel prize winning writer Ernest Hemingway.

“I remember Ernest Hemingway when I was in Poly Tech (a high school in San Fernando Valley) and read his ‘A Farewell to Arms” book,” said Pfc. Ryan Olufs, 19, a human resources trainee of the US Army recruiting branch in Eagle Rock. He too read the Hemingway words.

Olufs has often been visiting the campus, going through the front entrance of the administration building, but never noticed the plaques.
“I think that Ernest Hemingway’s words here are very fitting for the memory of those who died and served our nation for world peace,” Olufs said. He briefly eluded to the fact that Hemingway who was rejected by the service because of an eye injury.

But, Olufs, said the rejection did not stop Hemingway. He went to work as a reporter for the Kansas City Star, and later volunteered for the American Red Cross as an ambulance driver in Italy during World War I.
After already establishing himself as a fiction writer, Hemingway became a war correspondent for the Toronto Star. For that paper, he covered many conflicts, including the Spanish Civil and World War II.
He used his own war and reporting experience in novels including “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “A Farewell to Arms,” the novel which supplied the quote on the plaque.

The most recent plaque was placed there three years ago to honor the Sept. 11, 2001 deaths. The plaque is “In the memory of those who perished Sept. 11, 2001,” and it goes on to say “The Generations that know us not and that we know not of, heart-drawn to see where and by whom great things were suffered…”

This is a quote by Col. Joshua Chamberlain, 20th Main U.S. Infantry [May 20, 1863]. Chamberlain was a Boudoin College professor who offered his service to the military in 1862 and commanded a regiment at the battle of Gettysburg and various other battles.

Below the Sept. 11 plaque is a plaque for the “World War II GCC Students, A Roll of Honor.” “It’s great that these plaques are here,” said Pvt. George Galvez, 19, a human resources trainee of the U.S. Army recruiting branch in Eagle Rock, who was on campus with Olufs.
Galvez read: “In memory of those former students of Glendale College who made the supreme sacrifices in the service of our country, that justice and liberty might prevail.” The list is long…. “For our tomorrow, they gave their today.”

“We in the military today are not recognized as much because of the Iraq war,” Galvez said. “But at GCC, we are getting all the support that we needed on campus. Students come to us [military recruiters] and ask us how the military life is and we explained that it is not as bad as they think.”

Gabriel Kecheckyan, 20, a child development major, also never noticed the plaques, but when he saw them, he expressed respect and appreciation for the American war heroes as he read one of the plaques: “To remember brave Americans who served during the Vietnam War 1961 to 1975. If you are able, save them a place inside of you and save one backward glance when you are leaving for places they can no longer go. Be not ashamed to say you love them….”

“These soldiers are our heroes,” said Kecheckyan. “They gave their lives for our freedom. Every man and woman has a duty to his or her country. But I am not patriotic in a way that I won’t want to die for this country, perhaps because of my heritage. In Armenia, I have no choice but to be in the army when I turned 18,” he said.

And , “In Honor of the Men and Women Who Died and Served Beirut, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Persian Gulf… In great fields, something abides, on great fields something stays…” once again quoting Col. Chamberlain.

“I, however, consider myself a Christian and spiritual soldier,” said Checheckyan. “I help young people stay away from drugs and other social ills to keep our world and community peaceful.”

“Nowadays, though, more and more students are protesting against us on various campuses that gives us young people in the military the feeling of being out of place. The way they threat us [military recruiters] on other campuses across the nation, it’s a negative feeling,” said Olufs. “But this campus [GCC] has been very supportive to us. We appreciate it.”

“The [war] memorial has been there since I started working at the College in 1975,” said Bill Taylor, director of business services.
” The area was reserved for its use by the Associated Students and governing bodies. The place was appropriate [for the memorial] because of its location at the main entrance to the college.”