Veteran’s Day festival is held on and off campus

Ambria King, Photo Editor

Bakersfield College celebrated Veteran’s Day with a week of festivities, including the unveiling of plans for the new Veterans Resource Center (VRC) on Nov. 8 and Vet Fest on Nov. 9. The Bakersfield Veteran’s Day parade was also held in Downtown Bakersfield on Nov. 11.
The plans for the new VRC were revealed at a ceremony held in front of the Language Arts building. The ceremony included a speech by Lee Caldwell, a Bakersfield College student who is also a veteran. He shared how important having the current veteran’s lounge has been to his college experience and expressed his excitement in regards to the new VRC.
The following day, Bakersfield College held Vet Fest from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event hosted a number of speakers, including Cristian Gutierrez, the current president of the Vet Club. Gutierrez spoke about all of the resources that Bakersfield College offers for vets, such as priority registration and access to a computer lab and those who can assist with registration.
Local Band, Vanity Avenue, provided entertainment for the event; performing covers of popular alternative and rock hits.
Vet fest gave BC students and faculty a chance to gather together and celebrate the service and sacrifice provided by military veterans, many of which are also BC students. Diane Serrato, a current BC student shared her experience as an Army vet and expressed the issues she’s faced that are unique to being a female military veteran.
Serrato served for a period of 8 years, from ’83 to ’91 and said that despite her years of service, she often isn’t recognized as being a veteran unless she is wearing her dog tags or dressed in a manner that makes it obvious.
“I’ve been a veteran for quite a while… but you pretty much have to point it out. Even if I’m wearing something that has ‘Army’ written on it, people just think that I’m a spouse… they don’t look at me as somebody who served,” said Serrato.
Despite being out of the Army since 1991, Serrato still prefers spending her time with others who have served. “There’s just a brother and sisterhood that we share… We have familiar experiences. We understand each other. I think that we go to each other first when we need something. There’s a lot of really young people on campus, and we [vets] have similar life experience,” said Serrato.
That sentiment was expressed by a majority of the vets who spoke at vet fest. They expressed how pivotal having a center specifically designated to veterans was for their college experience.
On Nov. 11 Bakersfield held its annual Veteran’s Day parade in Downtown Bakersfield.
The parade began at 24th Street and L street and included floats from a number of different local businesses and clubs. High school and Junior High school marching bands also performed during the parade, along with drill squads and color guards.
The streets of downtown Bakersfield were lined with spectators young and old who came to show their appreciation for those who have served.