Tribute to the troops

Kyle Reynolds and Kyle Reynolds

Iraq is on the other side of the world, but the implications of the war in Iraq reach far beyond the Middle Eastern country.

There have been 3,991 confirmed deaths of American soldiers in the war, according to the Department of Defense.

Last night, Reach Out, a non-partisan social issues group, and the College Democrats, came together to hold a candlelight vigil commemorating the fifth anniversary of the U.S invasion of Iraq.

Andrew Arvay, freshman and member of Reach Out, said the purpose of the event was to honor the many soldiers fighting in the war.

‘People are dying for us,’ Arvay said. ‘Whether you think their sacrifice is worth it, you still need to respect their memory.’

The vigil is important because the soldiers’ service often goes forgotten, said Kevin Hartman, senior and Reach Out president.

‘I feel the soldiers are very neglected,’ Hartman said. ‘There are very few events on campus about them.’

Jonathan Uhl, sophomore and member of Reach Out, said students often push the war in Iraq to the back of their minds because of the busyness of college life.’

‘It’s important because college students go through their daily lives and forget that people are fighting overseas,’ Uhl said.

Chris Gyurnek, sophomore and vice president of Reach Out, said students have to take time to get more informed on the war.

‘They just need to look deeper than what’s on the news,’ Gyurnek said. ‘Students can just take some time to check out a number of different news sources.’

Reach Out held a candlelight vigil last year for the fourth anniversary, but got some help this year from the College Democrats.

Hartman said the College Democrats really helped with funding, but he was hesitant about holding the event with them because he didn’t want it to become a partisan event.

‘I was concerned at first because I didn’t want it to become a political issue,’ Hartman said. ‘We have had members of College Republicans that have come by and helped us too.’

Mark Ingles, president of College Democrats, wanted to be involved with the vigil because he wants the fallen soldiers to be remembered.

‘We wanted to do something to remember the start of this tragic event in our history,’ Ingles said. ‘Something respectful.’