Image courtesy of CUA Homefront Facebook
By Lizetthe Moreno
For generations, the Catholic University of America has had a rich history of involvement with the United States military. From having our own architecture building, the Edward M. Crough Center, served as an aircraft hangar, to having a group of Catholic University students lay down their lives for our country in World War II, the Catholic University of America has continually shown its support for the military.
Last year, Catholic University was named a “military-friendly school,” earning the designation as a gold-level award winner by the Military Friendly Company Survey. This most recent recognition is attributed to the “sustained superior performance” and the level of commitment offered toward veterans programs according to the previous CUA Veterans Affairs coordinator Ed Schafer.
Having continuous administrative support has been critical and this year is no different.
“CUA Homefront’s efforts are essential to our mission of making the Catholic University of America a premier higher education destination for those who have served and those who intend to,” said Captain Stephan Murphy, Catholic University’s Veterans Affair coordinator.
For those on campus last year, may recall seeing students and faculty walk around campus in a military uniform. This is because the Catholic University of America is a consortium affiliate with the ROTC units in the capital region. Some of the students who are in your Physics or English class will become officers in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps or the Air Force.
“On Wednesdays and Fridays, when walking between classes I saw many of my midshipmen friends in their khakis uniform,” said sophomore civil engineering major Nate Seldon. “To the lay person it might not mean much, but these men and women have been awake far longer than the average student.”
Although Catholic University has a strong military presence, students have recognized that as a university community, we can do more to honor those who have, are, and will serve in the military. Some upperclassmen recall a memorial that used to lay in front of McMahon hall to remember our very own Catholic U students who answered the call and died in WWII.
“The memorial would inspire our Catholic University community to reflect upon the sacrifices of Americans who have gone before us, but it’s not there anymore,” said senior engineering major Steve Cypher.
Some students feel as though there is a big disconnect between the student body and those with relations to the armed forces.
“I think it is good for the rest of the student body to be aware that there are people on our campus who are currently in the military and in the pipeline to go into service,” said senior biomedical engineering major Ben Karthaus. “They are our peers and in our classes and it’s nice to appreciate them and this organization is cool because it is a way that we can recognize them.”
Nevertheless, there is an obvious disconnect between the study body and service members. Catholic University could do more things on the administrative side to show support.
“It is absurd that we do not get Veteran’s Day off when we have all four branches of ROTC on campus as well as many faculty members who have served our country,” said senior politics major Emily Curran.
The Catholic University of America Homefront organization is revamping its organization this year. With a new director of veterans affairs, Captain Murphy, and new club president, Cadet Robert Metzger, vice president Midshipman Lizetthe Moreno, secretary Midshipman Theresa Whitfield and representative chairs Midshipman Matthew Gardiner, Cadet Alex Fieghery, and senior engineering student Steve Cypher, Homefront is committed to promoting the values of faith, service, and charity through fostering a close relationship between the student body and those with military ties. The club’s leadership plans to achieve this by having an active participation in events geared towards supporting those who have laid their lives so we can indulge in the freedoms that the American way of life gives us.
“By fundraising, hosting social events, inviting speakers, and much more, CUA Homefront will continue to promote and support all of our service members, and welcomes all students to do the same,” Metzger said.
The club recently hosted its first event of the year, a 9/11 memorial workout that students could do at home to show solidarity to first responders and those who were affected by the attack.
“The effect of a workout is ten-fold when it has meaning behind it. Sweating and getting after it in honor of those who gave their lives 19 years ago is the least I could do in their name,” said E-Board member Matthew Gardiner.
You can check out more Homefront events on the Nest, Facebook @CUA Homefront, and Instagram @Catholicu_homefront.