Honoring Dragons Who’ve Served: Veterans Day Reflections

November 11 is Veterans Day – a day to honor, celebrate and thank our fellow citizens who have served in the United States Armed Forces.

Throughout November, Drexel is offering series of Veterans and Military Family Appreciation events, including a Veterans Day Tribute and panel discussion, "Beyond the Uniform: The I in Military," in which Drexel professional staff and alumni will draw on their military and University experiences to explore ways to execute a mission without sacrificing personal identity or values.

Members of the Drexel community are also encouraged to contribute to Drexel's annual Active-Duty Care Package Drive between Nov. 11 and Dec. 2. Donations of personal care items, books, stationery or packaged snacks may be dropped off at Drexel Central, the Center for Military and Veteran Services, the Department of Public Safety or the lobbies of the Recreation Center and the Health Sciences Building.

In celebration of Veterans Day, we’re featuring two members of CCI’s veteran community. Read more about their personal journeys and experiences:

Joseph DattoloJoseph Dattolo
2nd Year BS in Software Engineering student

Joe Dattolo is a sophomore studying software engineering at Drexel University and is from Hackettstown, NJ. He spent three-and-a-half years serving on active duty with the U.S. Army as a joint fire support specialist at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, GA and Illesheim, Germany. His hobbies include fishing, video games and volunteering as a firefighter in his hometown. 

“[My time in the Army] had a profound impact on my life in ways that I still can’t fully describe. While the Army wasn’t anything like what I expected, it was so many things that I hadn’t even considered in the first place. In just those three-and-a-half years, I felt like the Army afforded me a lifetime of lessons. I had the privilege of serving with people from so many diverse backgrounds who were of irreproachable character. I had the chance to lead in a meaningful capacity and see so many parts of the country and the world that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Being able to live in Europe for almost an entire year put a lot of things in my life into perspective, and much like my time in the Army as a whole, led me to a newfound appreciation for so many things and people that I had neglected prior.

Veterans Day is a fun time for me, and for many vets. I don’t seek out recognition, but it’s an occasion that allows me to meet and connect with fellow veterans, which is something I care about. Drexel has a tight knit veteran community, and we all look out for each other and offer support whenever needed here. Many of us had drastically different experiences in the military, and yet we share a common understanding amongst this small community. We all want to see each other succeed, and Veteran’s Day affords us the chance to reflect on how far we’ve come, both individually and together. I value these moments of reflection, and I love sharing them with the community that I’m proud to be a part of.”

Stephen SherlockStephen Sherlock
1st Year BS in Computing and Security Technology student

Stephen Sherlock is a freshman studying Computing and Security Technology at Drexel University. Stephen served in the United States Marine Corps as an intelligence analyst for five years active duty in New River, NC. His hobbies include Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai and video games.

“I served in the United States Marine Corps from 2016 to 2021 as an intelligence analyst. I performed many roles in the Marine Corps, including intelligence chief (head of intelligence operations at the enlisted level at a unit), anti-terrorism/force protection chief, physical security chief, and security manager.

I am thankful for these experiences, as many of these gave me the confidence, drive, perseverance and discipline I need to work through the many tasks and challenges that life at college has. I am fortunate to have the amazing veteran friendly community here at Drexel that made me feel welcome and wanted here; it honestly made my transition from military service to civilian life painless.

Veterans Day to me is a day that veterans can get together to celebrate and reminisce on their service. It reminds me of the good and challenging times that I had, and it gives me a day to remember them with my fellow service members.”

Learn More: Resources for Veterans at Drexel University

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