The Veteran Student Organization walked from the UConn student union to the Ultimate Sacrifice Memorial Wednesday, and concluded with a speech by VSO President Samuel Surowitz. “Many of us are combat veterans and we ask ourselves, 'How do we continue to fight terrorism off the battlefield and how can we do this peacefully?'”
Surowitz spoke on the many global terrorist attacks, saying there have been 250 already this year. He said it’s important that people don't become numb or apathetic to acts of terrorism.
“Americans must face violent extremism head on with bravery and solidarity, declaring all terrorism to be acts against humanity,” he said. “We must acknowledge the threat posed to society and address it head on by bringing people together in solidarity rather than isolating people.”
Participants were encouraged to share their feelings at the end of the walk, followed by a moment of silence.
Air Force Veteran and UConn student Maurin “Ben” Nobles spoke on the importance on the days events. "I think it's important to remember that in these attacks at Brussels or Pakistan," he said. "It might seem like something that’s so far away from us and so unrelated but these are somebody's kids, somebody's family, somebody's life has been turned upside down due to somebody who wants to enforce a change through fear and violence."
Nobles said terrorist groups like ISIS thrive off our country’s fear.
“What happens abroad matters, it affects us and even if it's not happening to us today, it could happen to us in the future,” he said. “It's important that the whole world unites against fear and against those that want us to change through violence.”
The goal of the march was to show everyone that the VSO stands in solidarity by sending a message that the free world rejects terrorism. The organization hopes to spread the message and make terrorism less effective, to make the world a safer place.
While there were only about a dozen people at Wednesday’s march, Surowitz said the group got great support via email from students and staff.
The VSO also held a march for the victims of the attacks in Paris in November.