CSM ceremony honors those who’ve served
Fittingly, guests of the College of Southern Maryland’s Annual Veterans Brunch on Nov. 12 arrived by passing under a 20-by-30-foot American flag draped between the extended ladders of two local firetrucks.
More than 700 College of Southern Maryland students use Department of Veterans Affairs education benefits, and the college ranks fifth in the state for colleges serving current and former military service members and their families.
“It’s little surprise that within the state of Maryland, Southern Maryland has among the highest proportion of veterans when compared to its adult population within St. Mary’s, Charles and Calvert counties,” CSM Vice President of Operations Bill Comey said in a press release. “My father served in the Army, as did his father; and his father and so on back to when the first Comey in America — David Comey — mustered out onto the Village Green in Lexington, Massachusetts to face the British Army.”
When Comey’s father died last year, he left several family relics to his sons, including a bugle, a prayer book, campaign medals and a flag, all of which Comey displayed for the attendees.
“These items celebrate the life of my great-grandfather Bernard Comey,” he continued. “In 1895, as a young man he sailed to Cuba to take on the Army of Spain as part of the Spanish-American War. He was a 23-year-old Bugler in Company B, Second Massachusetts Regiment. In those pre-electronic days, the role of the Company Bugler was to communicate orders to the troops. Advance. Retreat. Fire.”
Among one of his prized family heirlooms kept devotedly through the generations was a letter from which Comey read that was penned by his great-grandfather on July 5, 1895 from Santiago, Cuba. “Reading these words — thoughts from a war-weary, but proud soldier on the battlefield longing for home — helps me imagine what many of you also experienced or felt while you served our nation,” he continued. “It helps me in some way to better appreciate the sacrifices you and your families made to keep America safe and protect the freedoms our nation enjoys. On be- half of a grateful nation, please accept our appreciation for your honorable and faithful service.”
“On this day, we remember the freedoms we have because of our veterans,” said Maryland State Sen. Thomas Mike Miller
Jr. (D-Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s), who encouraged veterans to engage with government. “We need you to follow up your service and continue to help our government,” he said, pointing out that veterans made great sacrifices to support the country’s ability to legislate. My father was with Patton’s third Army, I grew up at an American Legion Post, and the very first bill I sponsored was the Veteran’s Cemetery bill,” Miller continued. A chorus of thanks were also delivered from Calvert County commissioner-elect, CSM alumnus and Vietnam veteran Tim Hutchins, and state senator-elect and U.S. Air Force veteran Arthur Ellis.
Huntingtown High School students performed at the brunch with a presentation of colors by the school’s NJROTC Color Guard followed by a moving a cappella rendition of the national anthem by the Huntingtown High School Choir, under the direction of Choral Director Sandra Griese. Calvert County Fire Service Chaplain Larry Patin provided the invocation and CSM Student Veterans Organization President Jeremy Foster guided the attendees through the “missing man and honor ceremony” in remembrance of the nation’s prisoners of war and those missing in action.
“Not only do we honor and celebrate the contributions and sacrifices of these individuals, but we also want to recognize their families,” said Foster, who served in the U.S. Army and is in his third year at CSM, dually enrolled at UMUC in the cybersecurity program. “Today is certainly an appropriate time to celebrate the contributions of military families and to convey to them respect and appreciation for the sacrifices they make to support their service members.”
CSM’s commitment to veterans is reflected in numerous ways. The college is approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Maryland Higher Education Commission, so that eligible veterans, servicepersons and certain dependents of veterans can receive VA educational benefits for credit certificate and associate degree programs as well as some Workforce Development programs.
A lounge where student veterans can gather to study and socialize is available at the La Plata campus and CSM has hired veterans affairs coordinators to advise students. Veterans are offered a 15 percent discount on tuition for individual fitness and pool memberships.
For the fourth straight year, CSM earned the Military Friendly School Designation from Victory Media for attracting and supporting student veterans and spouses who are transitioning from the military to civilian workforce.
To see more photos from the event, go to https://csmphoto.zenfolio.com/18vetbfast. For more information about To CSM’s veteran and military support services, go to https://www.csmd. edu/student-services/ veteran-military-support-services/.
Heirlooms of the Comey family, including a bugle, a prayer book, campaign medals and a flag, were on display and explained during the Veterans Day program remarks.
Huntingtown High School’s NROTC cadets C/ENS Sammie Zeigler, left, C/LCDR Gaby Rodriguez, C/LT Margaret Foulkes and C/Chief Corrina Curtin presented the colors during the annual Veterans Day program at the Prince Frederick campus.
“On this day, we remember the freedoms we have because of our veterans,” State Sen. Thomas Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s) said during the College of Southern Maryland breakfast. Thanks were also delivered from Calvert County commissioner-elect CSM alumnus and Vietnam veteran Tim Hutchins and state senator-elect and U.S. Air Force veteran Arthur Ellis.