Veteran’s Day walk raises awareness of young vets

By John Ortilla

City College attended the first annual Veterans Day Golden Gate Bridge Walk at the Presidio on Nov. 11. The holiday is celebrated annually to honor those who have served in the Armed Forces as well as those who have fallen defending the country.

“The Presidio was built by veterans and its population grew overtime with veterans,” said Gerard Choucroun, director of Veterans Program for Presidio Trust. “The walk is to teach civilians about the growing population of young veterans in the city.”

Fifteen people attended the walk, including family members and several City College alumni. Participants walked from 50 Moraga Ave. to the coast near Crissy Field.

The event was sponsored by Presidio Trust, Bay Area Student Veteran Leadership and the Northern California Institute of Research and Education.

Event organizer Aundray Rogers handed black shirts with a yellow logo of “The City” and “Veterans Day 2016” below it to participating walkers. The shirts were used to increase the group’s visibility as they headed towards the coast.

“No one really knows the population of young veterans in the city exists and it is time to change that,” Rogers said. “There are many young veterans ready to take positions in the city that older veterans are ready to pass down.”

While some veterans participated, there were others who had family members that serve in the military—family members who watched their significant others or children or mothers or fathers contribute time in the Armed Forces.

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Participants in the first annual Veteran’s Day Golden Gate Bridge Walk in the Presidio on Nov. 11, 2016 (Photo by John Ortilla/The Guardsman)

“I believe that there isn’t much support for veterans living in the city and I’m walking to increase awareness of veterans in the city,” City College financial aid employee Gwyn Leong said. “My late husband was a veteran and I will always support and honor the veterans of the past and present because I know they sacrificed so much.”

As the group walked, many older veterans living in the Presidio recognized them and acknowledged each other with words such as “Happy Veterans Day” and “Thank you for your service.” Veterans and families walked in unity throughout the hour and visibility increased as some waved and others shook hands with strangers.

“We came up the idea of doing the walk about a month ago,” Rogers said. “We reached out to other schools like University of California, Berkeley and Golden Gate University and combined all veterans into a bigger force to walk the Golden Gate Bridge.”

Although those who participated were small in numbers, Rogers believes that the event will become more popular over time as it grows to include more veterans from different schools.