For Veteran’s Day, paintball

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Veteran’s Day this year was marked by mock warfare in the Sunken Garden.

The College of William and Mary’s Veteran’s Society partnered with the ROTC program to sponsor events Sunday in honor of Veteran’s Day.

Several other military organizations, such as the American Legion and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, took part in the festivities, including performances by a cappella group Passing Notes and the Queen’s Guard — and a paintball tournament.

Lance Zaal ’09, a member of the Veteran’s Society who served in the Marine Corps Infantry from 2002 to 2006, petitioned the Student Assembly to fund the paintball tournament.

Zaal said that he came up with the idea of paintball when he heard about a paintball fundraiser for the Wounded Warriors Project, a veteran’s organization. He hoped that would be a “more inclusive” activity that would draw students to the festivities.

“It’s all about bringing people out to celebrate,” Zaal said.

Emily Johnson ’09, the detachment leader of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary at the College, said that the festivities provided an opportunity for students from different military services on campus to come together and gave them a chance to make their presence known on campus. The American Legion, an organization for veterans who served during a time of war, reported that they gained several new members at the event.

“I’m just happy to see all of these people out here,” said Andrew Welch ’07, the campus liaison for the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

The event drew some controversy within the SA as to whether or not it was appropriate to commemorate Veteran’s Day with a paintball competition. However, attendees noted that the paintball event served as a means to attract students. Johnson said that although paintball was the “main attraction,” it was not the center of the celebration.

“I came out to play paintball,” Dave Gemmill ’09 said. “The awareness is an added bonus.”
Despite the paintball tournament, attendance was lower than expected.

Zaal said that the event was less unified than he had envisioned. Many students came to play paintball, but some of the other attractions were not as well attended. One paintball team said that they did not know about the other veteran’s activities going on until they came to play.

“I wanted everyone to visit every station,” Zaal said. “[I wanted students] to talk to Hispanic veterans and Korean veterans.”

However, both Johnson and Zaal think this Sunday’s event was a step in the right direction.

“I’m honestly asking for suggestions from the student community,” Zaal said. “Even if three people learn more about … veterans, then this event is a success.”


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