On May 14, a ceremony was held on the lawn in front of the John M. Pfau Library for Armed Forces Day. This also started the annual yellow ribbon campaign at CSUSB, where several organizations and clubs decorate trees across campus to honor military members.
This year’s event was organized by Deborah Buck, the Events Coordinator at the Veterans Success Center.
“Today’s event has been happening for over five years here at Cal State San Bernardino,” says Jaime Espinoza, the School Certifying Official at the Veterans Success Center. “The turnout was very good.”
Trees are decorated with yellow ribbons to represent an active service member from California currently deployed, explains Espinoza.
Karina Torres works with the Student Assistance and Learning Program at CSUSB, a program that serves first generation, low income, and disabled college students. She and a group of coworkers have shown up to represent their program, but to also support service members.
“We’re gonna leave this up for a week,” says Torres, as her team designs an anchor on the tree, made of yellow ribbons. “So, it will be a great reminder of what other individuals are doing for our country.”
Torres says that her team’s strategy behind the decoration is to symbolize what service members mean to the country.
“The individuals that are out fighting for our country are the anchors of our liberty,” Torres said. “So it’s representing all that they do for us.”
Honoring our service member is something that should be done every day, says Torres.
“I’m very thankful for all that they do,” Torres said. “It really makes me feel very proud and very honored to be out here today.”
Primavera Reza-Nakonechny is a STEM counselor at CSUSB; which is the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics department. She showed up to decorate a tree for her department but is also using the occasion to memorialize her uncle.
“My Tio Rene, served during Vietnam,” says Reza-Nakonechny.
After the war, he had difficulties reintegrating back into regular society. He suffered from PTSD and had several physical and health disabilities.
“That’s why I wanted to memorialize him and post up his picture,” Reza-Nakoechny said. “That’s kind of what’s going on with this tree.”
Reza-Nakonechny says that decorating her tree was made difficult because “the tree in the bottom half is really dry. So it is hard to stick the pins in because they fall off;” referring to the pins used to post the yellow ribbons. Because of this, she was only able to decorate the upper portion of the tree.
Miguel Martin is with the Parking and Transportation Services team, and he says that what they are doing with the decorations is honoring family members and loved ones of the staff by putting their pictures up.
Martin’s team decorated three trees. One by the workers in the booths as you enter the campus. Another by the workers in the office. And the last one was decorated by community services.
“We also have a couple of staff members that were in the Marine Corps,” said Martin. Their photos are also displayed.
As far as the strategy, Martin explains: “We’re just trying to be as awesome as possible.”