Faculty, staff and students across the Washington State University system will celebrate Veterans Day a little differently this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the usual in-person gatherings are unable to take place, student veteran Chris Mann produced a special video to honor and thank veterans from each WSU community.
Everyone is invited to view the video at the same time on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, at 11 a.m.
Mann is a senior majoring in psychology and criminal justice on the Pullman campus who spent eight years on active duty in the Marines fighting in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is president of WSU’s Student Veterans Committee.
“Viewers will see the WSU Veterans Memorial, the service flags flying, and hear taps being played,” Mann said. “I wanted to film the scene so it would look exactly the same as if you were there in-person watching the ceremony.”
The pre-recorded video features Curtis Cohen, president of the Associated Students of Washington State University and Jennifer Johnson, president of the Graduate and Professional Student Association, laying a wreath at the Memorial on the Pullman campus.
Mann said the video, about 10 minutes in length, will touch on the history of Veterans Day and include messages from WSU President Kirk Schulz and Joel Schwartzkopf, the executive director of Cougar Health Services. Schwartzkopf is a former captain in the Wyoming National Guard.
Jaime Nolan, associate vice president for Community, Equity and Inclusive Excellence in the Division of Student Affairs, said a highlight in the video are clips from student veterans on several WSU campuses sharing what Veterans Day means to them. She said for many people, unless they served in the military or have a family member who did, this holiday may seem a little abstract.
“Even though my father fought in the Korean War, growing up, Veterans Day was not particularly significant to me,” Nolan said. “Hearing our student veterans share part of their story will provide a meaningful connection and give us a depth of understanding that we would not have otherwise.”
Mann is no stranger to making videos. When he isn’t studying, he can sometimes be found exploring remote places around the country shooting footage for the Outdoor Channel or other adventure networks. He even built an editing studio in his Pullman apartment.
“I know a video can’t fully replace the feeling of witnessing the veteran’s ceremony in person, but I enjoy making films and telling stories from behind the camera,” Mann said. “This project is something I really wanted to do, and it has been a good challenge.”
The WSU Global Campus is hosting a Military Trivia Night on Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m. Students from all campuses are invited to register and participate in the online event.