In preparation for the national observance of Memorial Day, members of Drexel’s campus community are gathering this week to honor men and women of the armed services who gave their lives in service to their country. Drexel’s Memorial Day Primer event will be held at the Center City Campus on Tuesday, May 21. Then, on May 22, students and faculty from the College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP) will be part of the City Council Veterans Resource Fair.
“This event has been designed to prepare our minds and hearts for the Memorial Day holiday,” said Dr. Rebecca Weidensaul, Drexel’s associate dean of students. “It is a time for us to gather and reflect as a community before our nation pauses to be grateful to those who have been lost in the line of duty. I am especially grateful to the team at the College of Nursing and Health Professions who will be hosting this event and the special role that Drexel Veterans Association will play in the program.”
At the Memorial Day Primer, members of Drexel’s Veterans Association, the Office of Student Services, Drexel’s Army ROTC and the Veterans Task Force will join community members in attendance for a special time of remembrance. The ceremony will include presentation of colors by the ARMY ROTC, a musical tribute by CNHP music therapy students and presentations by Lt. Col. Richard Zygadlo, a professor of military sciences and an administrator of the ROTC at Drexel, and Weidensaul.
“I’m extremely honored to be a part of Drexel’s community as we take a moment to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice our military heroes – America’s Sons and Daughters - gave to protect our Nation’s freedom and liberties,” Zygadlo said. “I’m thankful to the College of Nursing and Health Professions for hosting the event as we come together to remember, to mourn, and to heal. Drexel Remembers.”
In addition to hosting the primer event, the College of Nursing and Health Professions will send faculty and students to the Philadelphia City Council Veterans Resource Fair to conduct health screenings. The fair, which will be held on Wednesday, May 22 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the City Hall Courtyard (Broad and Market Streets), will give CNHP students the chance to help an underserved population and honor those who served in the military.
The volunteers from the college will conduct a variety of screenings for veterans, including blood pressure, eye exams and blood glucose; as well as behavioral health indicators such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, couples counseling and addiction.
“This is Drexel’s second year providing health screenings at the City Council Veterans Resource Fair,” said Dr. Leland “Rocky” Rockstraw, assistant dean in Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions. “Our students and faculty are glad to have the opportunity to give back to the men and women who have served our country.”
The Memorial Day Primer event begins at noon on Tuesday, May 21 in Geary Auditorium – A at the New College Building on 245 N. 15th Street in Center City.
“The Memorial Day Primer is part of Drexel’s patriotic services on campus called, ‘DU Remembers, Will You?’ this programmatic campaign was designed to generate support for our United States service men and women and their families, especially our student-veterans, faculty veterans, professional staff, alumni veterans and military families,” Weidensaul said.
Drexel is home to more than 550 student veterans and has been the base of Philadelphia’s Armory ROTC consortium “Task Force Dragon” since 1917. More than 63 Drexel and seven University of Pennsylvania students are part of Task Force Dragon, which has been rated one of the top Army ROTC programs on the East Coast for training future junior officer leaders.
“Things like the Memorial Day Primer and Drexel’s participation in the City Council Veterans Resource Fair show just how committed Drexel University is to serving not only Drexel’s student veterans, but Pennsylvania’s veteran community as a whole,” said Matthew Oles, the president of Drexel’s Student Veterans Association.