Pride of our Nation exhibit returns

Zoe Deno
Staff Writer

Bernard McGarry, who served as a medic during D-Day cut the cake at the reception hosted in the Marvin Library Atrium last Thursday. PHOTO BY THOMAS MARRA

Bernard McGarry, who served as a medic during D-Day cut the cake at the reception hosted in the Marvin Library Atrium last Thursday.

The seventh annual “Pride of Our Nation… Pride of Our College” exhibition, a display of military photographs and memorabilia submitted by students and faculty, opened in the Marvin Library last Thursday.

The exhibit features photos and artifacts of veterans who are relatives of Hudson Valley students and faculty. Each year, during the opening reception, a World War II veteran is escorted by an active duty service person to cut a cake made in honor of the event.

“This is not an exhibit about war,” said event organizer and professor Alice Malavasic. “It is an exhibit about family. I want people to leave with a happy feeling that their family member is being recognized for their service.”

Mrs. Matayo, a professor at the college, snuck a photo of her husband’s father’s photograph to the exhibit, said Malavasic.

“He had no idea that when he came here he was going to see his father’s picture on the wall,” Malavasic said. “When he saw it, his face exploded into a smile.”

Inspiration for this event came after Malavasic’s father died in 2007. She brought a photo of her father to Hudson Valley’s flag raising ceremony that year and discovered she was not the only person who brought a photo of a loved one. After a few years of preparation, the first exhibit opened in 2011.

“I think it’s a good thing that the college focuses on its veterans affiliated with the school because sometimes you get 10,000 people being honored, and the individual stories get lost,” said Douglas Bauer, CEO of AllSquare Wealth Management. “Being able to read about each veteran individually is touching and memorable.”

Bauer donated $5,000 to the exhibit and announced that he will donate an additional $10,000 to the SSG Derek J. Farley Memorial Veterans Support Fund, which helps Veterans in select college majors buy automotive and construction tools necessary for eligible classes.

This year, Bernard McGarry, who served as a medic during D-Day in the 1059th General Hospital, honored the school by cutting the cake. He was escorted by Shelby Nelson, a Hudson Valley criminal justice major and active duty specialist in chemical warfare.
McGarry shared a war story with others.

“The evening after D-Day, ambulances brought surviving soldiers to the hospital. We had to take them out of the ambulance, cut their clothes off and bring them into the ward,” he said. “I’ve never seen people so hurt in my life.”

McGarry added his thoughts on war in general.

“War is one one of the most stupid things man has ever done,” he said. “It accomplishes nothing but destroying people. It usually starts with one big-mouth who owns everything, and he gets these poor, innocent people to die for him.”

McGarry was pleased with the event and was especially surprised to find that he would be cutting the cake. “Anyone who doesn’t want to cut the cake is crazy,” McGarry said.
Shelby Nelson was proud she could escort Mcgarry. “I’ve learned a lot from talking to [the veterans at the reception],” she said.

“Pride of Our Nation… Pride of Our College” will remain on view in the Marvin Library through Thursday, Dec. 7, which is the 76th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War II. It is free to the public and students are encouraged to visit to learn more about the local soldiers who fought for our country.

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