So was Alfarez, president of the NIU Veterans Club and a proud former member of the U.S. Marine Corps.
“This country gave us a lot of opportunities once we got here,” said Alfarez, a 25-year-old senior who is studying international politics at NIU. “I always felt like I needed to give back.”
When Alfarez joined the Marines, he learned responsibility, discipline and self-sufficiency. College had never crossed his mind, he said, until the military helped him to realize he was capable of so much more than he had ever imagined.
It’s a common trait among America’s former service men and women, he said.
“Veterans are an incredible asset to this country. We provide this country with not only leadership but good examples,” he said. “The least we as Americans can do is to honor these men and women who have gone before us to previous wars and conflicts.”
Veterans Day – Thursday, Nov. 11 – gives the NIU community and all of the United States that opportunity.
Scheduled for 11 a.m. – observances typically take place at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month – the NIU Veterans Club-sponsored flagpole ceremony offers a chance to pay tribute to men and women who have served, or are serving, in the military and to honor their sacrifices.
The flagpole is located across from Altgeld Hall at the corner of Castle Drive and College Avenue. All are welcome.
Speakers will include Lt. Col. Steve Ashpes, NIU ROTC Huskie Battalion; and Eddie Williams, executive vice president and chief of operations at NIU as well as a captain in the U.S. Navy. Cavya Kondamudi will sing the national anthem. Members of the NIU ROTC will provide the color guard and a 21-gun salute.
Veterans also can enjoy free oil changes for their cars from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. that day throughout DeKalb County – trucks, vans and diesel engines are excluded – as well as a special Veterans Day menu for dinner at Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar, 2411 Sycamore Road.
Proof of military service is required for both opportunities.
Representatives from NIU Military Student Services and the DeKalb County Veterans Assistance Commission will answer questions and provide free food to veterans at the Auto Clinic, 901 E. Lincoln Hwy.
- Archer Alignment, 424 E. Lincoln Hwy., DeKalb, (815) 756-6246
- Barb City Automotive, 1150 S. Fourth St., DeKalb, (815) 756-3898
- Bockman’s Auto Care, 705 E. Lincoln Hwy., DeKalb, (815) 756-7413
- Chuck’s Auto Center, 1625 DeKalb Ave., Sycamore, (815) 899-1184
- City Auto Repair, 816 Lacas St., DeKalb, (815) 756-9054
- Illini Tire Co., 1031 W. Lincoln Hwy., DeKalb, (815) 758-1101
- Mike’s Auto and Truck Repair, 111-1/2 Industrial Hwy., DeKalb, (815) 754-4200
- Milex AutoCare and Mr. Transmission, 1565 DeKalb Ave., Sycamore, (815) 899-2299
- Motor Works, 316 E. Taylor, DeKalb, (815) 756-2882
- Ritz’s Southtown Auto Repair, 1036 S. Fourth St., (815) 787-4955
- Sauber Automotive, 3012 E. Lincoln Hwy., Cortland, (815) 758-0105
- University Shell Inc., 175 W. Lincoln Hwy., DeKalb, (815) 758-6700.
For more information about Military Student Services at NIU, call (815) 753-0691, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Gilbert Hall B111.