By Andrew Ayala
Military grade gear, self-help books and art that represents the transition from war can be seen in a display titled “A Community of Veterans” in the East Los Angeles College library until Nov. 29.
The display was created by the Veteran’s Resource Center to celebrate Veteran’s week on campus.
The display case can be seen to the right of the metal detectors as students enter the library.
“It’s a great opportunity to provide whatever memorabilia they
want to share, or whatever message they want to communicate about student-veterans and their impact on campus,” said Natasha Alvarez, Outreach and Instruction Librarian.
“We wanted to provide visibility to our student-veterans, because there are a lot of them, and not all of them go to the Veterans Resource Center, so we wanted to be a place where people can see themselvesreflected.”
In the center of the display there is a manikin head with a boonie hat, goggles and a scarf wrapped around its head, like a soldier in a desert region.
Backpacks sit on the sides and
show different types of camouflagewhich Martin Carrillo, a second- year student veteran, said is changed each season or adjusted by location of exercises.
The older one with jungle camouflage has items such as flame retardant gloves and hats sticking out.
He said this is called an assault pack and usually carries the core essential equipment for a work-out.
Carrillo said the picture frame with three different black and white photos was provided by a student- veteran to show three generations of service in his family.
The same veteran also provided
patches from his old Airforce units to be displayed.
Veteran-created white boxes with silk-screened images of soldiers and their lives in war can be seen sitting on the bottom shelf alongside junglecamouflage graduation sashes.
An art piece that looks like sheet metal cut into an American flag is artistically crafted to represent something that is battle-worn.
The green, white and black all compliment one another to create acamouflage effect.
The top shelf holds a modernhelmet with forest camouflage anda bit of wear-and-tear.
A clay statue of a star painted like
an American flag with real clay- filled bullets sitting at the bottom issymbolic of the hardships that come with war.
“We were trying to do a from-service-to-student type of situation… That’s one of the biggest obstacles that veterans run into getting out of the military. Transitioning into civilian life,” Carrillo said.
“Some of us were in control of our own squads, our own platoons, you know, or our own truck section. Now we’re a student and we have no real control of anything but our student work.”
Carrillo said the transition to
society isn’t always easy, and thefact that there are flyers from theVRC, guides on adjsting to life after coming from the war zone and even articles, show that there is support from the local community.
“The student-veterans should know that there is a place for them. There is a big support system that they have here on campus and they should come and explore more,”
“Faculty should know there
are veterans on campus that are transitioning and that they need tofind some leniency and help us outa little bit as well. It’s not an easy thing to go through.”