A new home for battle tested Old Glory

HOME FROM THE BATTLEFIELD — Lt. Cmdr. Luis Nuñez director of the SWC medical laboratory technician program, presents superintendent Dr. Melinda Nish, an American flag that was flown over Kabul, Afghanistan. The flag is displayed at the National City HEC. / Albert Fulcher 

Written by: Albert Fulcher / Campus Editor

November 28, 2012

As the sun set over the dusty Kabul sky in Afghanistan, the red, white and blue symbol of freedom flew above the U.S. forward operating base. In time-honored military fashion, Lt. Cmdr. Luis A. Nuñez Jr., U.S. Navy Reserves, saluted as the color guard started down the flag, knowing its ultimate destination would be Southwestern College.

Nuñez, program director of the medical laboratory technician program at the National City Higher Education Center (HEC), said it was significant to him that he chose the flag. He said he wanted to bring home a symbol of his yearlong duty in war-torn Afghanistan where he and his comrades established clinical laboratories.

“I chose a flag for the National City Center because the closeness I feel with my team at the college is as strong as the team I served with in Afghanistan,” he said. “It was my way of letting them know that while I was away, they were there with me.”

As Southwestern celebrated its own time-honored Veteran’s Day ceremonies, Nuñez presented his gift to Superintendent Dr. Melinda Nish.

“Receiving a flag from the field is a true honor,” she said. “It is a special symbol of recognition from Lt. Cmdr. Nuñez to all of us at Southwestern. This flag will forever be a symbol of all the contributions of veterans, past and present. On behalf of the entire Southwestern College community, I thank Luis Nuñez for this honor.”

In a smaller but emotional ceremony, Nuñez, along with Nish, brought the flag to its final destination.

Christine Perri, National City HEC dean, said the first thing that comes to her mind when she looks at the flag is that it is a privilege having Nuñez working there.

“Nuñez represents all the things filled with goodness and kindness in the world,” she said. “Through his willingness to protect our liberties and freedom here, I am grateful he is home safely.”

In traditional shadowbox fashion the red, white and blue adorns the National City HEC. A reminder that many past, present and future veterans not only serve the nation, but serve the Southwestern College community with as much honor.




Saluting Veterans



Saluting Veterans

 By: Mary York and Albert Fulcher, News Editor and Editor-in-chief

Published: Monday, November 21st, 2011 at 9:57 pm


Departing from the traditional pomp and circumstance of military ceremony, Southwestern College’s Veterans Day celebration was humble, heartwarming and honorable.
Interim Superintendent Denise Whittaker declared Thursday, November 10, 2011 a day of memorial in honor of those served in the United States Armed Forces. Held at Veteran’s Glen, the college community gathered in remembrance of those who serve our country and those that paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
Former Governing Board Trustee Nick Aguilar said he was very honored to be a part of the ceremony and grateful for all who showed up to pay respect to veterans past, old and new.
“I want to thank Southwestern College for supporting the veterans enrolled at the college to transition from the combat environment and combat mentality to a civilian higher education,” he said.
Aguilar said today’s veterans are fighting every day all over the world, exposed to elements not seen in his days in the Vietnam and prior wars. He called it a war with no boundaries, no safety zones and attacks that leave service members dead or maimed for life.
“They will need assistance for the rest of their lives and their families will need assistance also,” he said.
Student Veteran Organization President Shawn Buckingham and former president David Bonafede presented Aguilar with a plaque and shadowbox in recognition of his service to his country and college veterans.
“Sergeant Nick Aguilar, there are not enough plaques, there are not enough shadowboxes or nothing we can say to sum up what you have done for our community, our veterans, the Student Veteran Organization and your service here,” said Buckingham.
Jim Jones, veterans’ services specialist, said it was an honor to have two distinguished guests at the ceremony, Frank Wada and Mas Tsuida. Volunteers of the U.S. Army’s 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service, Wada and Tsuida were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal as veterans of Japanese descent serving during World War II. Japanese descent soldiers served while more than 120,000 of their family and friends were interned in 10 relocation camps. The 442nd is the most highly-decorated unit in American history for its size and length of service.
“Thank you very much for your uncommon bravery and valor and your loyalty to a nation that initially treated you with mistrust and unfair incarceration,” said Jones.
Aguilar’s comrades from the 82nd Air¬borne Division and Association Color Guard presented the Colors and Joseph Molina, a member of the SWC choir, sang the national anthem. Dr. Terry Russell, conducted the SWC Concert Choir and Chamber Singers as they performed the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
Following special messages from Aguilar and Whittaker, Jones laid the wreath on the veterans’ memorial as “Taps” was played by Norman Rains and Mario Eguia.
As the ceremony came to a close, those present placed red carnations next to the ceremonial wreath on the monument, laying them down in memory of those who laid down their lives. 


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