The Catholic University of America

Nov. 11, 2011

Students Honor Greatest Generation

  Veterans Day Banner

This Veterans Day, a group of Catholic University students will board a campus ministry van carrying a large red, white, and blue banner with hundreds of notes of appreciation. They are headed to the Armed Forces Retirement Home. The group has visited the facility in Washington, D.C., several times since the start of the fall semester.

Sophomores Bridget Maley, a social work major from Hightstown, N.J., and Lauren Scharmer, a politics major of Lakeville, Minn., started the group this semester inspired by the University’s 125th anniversary Cardinal Service Commitment.

“The people who live at the retirement home have served our country. They have given so much. So the idea of giving back to them, of serving them, really is a no brainer,” says Scharmer.

The student group is growing, reports the two service leaders. “We have about six to 10 students in our group for each visit and more and more are showing interest. Once you go and meet these veterans, you really start to look forward to the next visit. We’ve started to build relationships with them. It is hard to say goodbye,” says Maley.

“It warms your heart,” adds Scharmer. “On the way back to campus in the van after each visit, we are all sharing who our favorite person was and what we talked about. They are all so proud of their service, and they are all so humble.”

Maley recalls a recent event at the retirement home when they all sang “The Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America.” “They sang with such meaning. It made quite an impression on me,” said Scharmer.

Veterans Day  
Lauren Scharmer and Bridget Maley tell students about the veterans service project at the University service fair in August.


The Veterans Day banner has been on display in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center all week. Hundreds of students have stopped to write a note of appreciation. “We wanted the veterans we have been visiting to know we appreciate and remember their service. We are so excited to deliver the banner in person,” said Maley.

Scharmer’s grandmother and grandfather, both 87, met while serving in the Navy as World War II was winding down. “I try to call them every Veterans Day. But this year, the holiday has even more meaning,” she says.

“I’m excited by what’s happening in this country,” adds Maley. “There is a feeling that no matter how you feel about war, we must support and appreciate our military and our veterans. All of us who are participating in this service project are so grateful to have this opportunity to show our appreciation in person.”

This year, charitable works — including those performed in long-term service projects — may be logged in Catholic University’s Cardinal Service Commitment, a service campaign marking Catholic University’s 125th anniversary. In thanksgiving for more than a century of God’s blessings at Catholic University, students, alumni, faculty, and staff are striving to perform 125,000 hours of service by next Founders Day, April 10, 2012. For more information and to log hours, visit



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