Remembering the Fallen: Students share what Memorial Day means to them


Tiffany Butler

Video by Tiffany Butler, Nick Blank, Brittany Moore

Memorial Day, the last Monday of May, is a federal holiday to honor those who have died serving in our nation’s armed forces.

About 7.5% of students at the University of North Florida (UNF) are military affiliated, according to Diane Stover, office manager of the Military Veterans Resource Center (MVRC).

She said this aligns with the national percentage, which is 7.3%. Stover attributed this to UNF’s location, saying Florida has the nation’s third largest military presence.

Stover said UNF’s veteran’s park, a university initiative to honor our veterans, is scheduled to open October 11. The dedication ceremony will feature veterans from each branch, raising their respective flags on the park’s multiple flagpoles.

Spinnaker spoke with several members of the MVRC about the holiday’s meaning to them.

Transition Coach of the MVRC Bob Beuhn said his memorial day tradition is visiting the Memorial Wall in downtown Jacksonville.

“I always go that Monday morning to the wall and usually lay a wreath or participate in some way,” he said. “If somebody wants to honor those, even in modern conflicts, Monday is the day to do it.”

Ozea Brown, a sociology and pre-nursing senior, is also an Air Force veteran. She said the holiday’s significance has drastically changed for her over the years.

She said some consider the Air Force the safest branch, but a few years back, her squadron lost a plane and crew.

“That really drove home that, it’s not safe. Even thousands of feet in the air, something could still go wrong and you give everything you have for what you’re trying to do,” said Odeza. “Even though the numbers aren’t what they were, you know, in the Civil War or on D-Day, doesn’t mean that there’s not a danger or a sacrifice,” she continued.

Jaime Plym, a coastal biology post-Baccalaureate, is a Navy veteran. She said it’s always been an important day of reflection for her to think back and attempt to put herself in the position of the families and friends of those who’ve fallen.

“Go have your barbeque. Go hang out on the beach. But remember, it’s for the people who aren’t here anymore. It’s a day that we’re off school for that, and that’s like my biggest point,” said Plym.

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