The University of La Verne suffered its first casualty in the War on Terror this summer when alumnus and Army Cpl. Bernard Corpuz was killed in Afghanistan. He was only 28. We at the Campus Times were saddened by the news that one of our own lost his life. It brought the war home in a devastating way. Whether you know someone serving in the war or not, as a member of the ULV community you have suffered a loss along with the rest of us.
Just three years ago Cpl. Corpuz was walking around the campus as we do today. He made friends here and lived in the dorms at one time. He was a political science major and ran for the track team.
While walking to class he may have noticed the memorial stones and trees that are scattered around campus. Each stone or tree is dedicated to a former student who died in a war. Students from ULV have died in wars since World War I, except the memorial stone located near Davenport simply says World War because no one could imagine there would be similar wars to come.
Now Cpl. Corpuz will hopefully have some type of memorial to honor his sacrifice. Another life that was ended too soon.
As we think back on the people who are gone, we at the Campus Times can’t help but think back to May 2003. Cpl. Corpuz graduated from ULV that year and in May President Bush made a speech that was also supposed to close a chapter.
The President stood aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln and repeated the words of the “Mission Accomplished” banner hanging behind his head. After almost two years at war, many believed the war was over and that we had lost our last soldier in combat. Yet the American casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan after the misleading banner have surpassed those before it.
With the five year anniversary of Sept. 11 this week, everyone looked back and remembered the sadness we experienced that day when so many human lives were taken. We understand the importance of keeping America safe and none of us want to go through a national tragedy like that ever again. But at the same time we are losing American lives in a different way and on different soil. There has to be another way to change the world we are living in today.
While he was in the Army, Cpl. Corpuz studied another language at the prestigious Defense Language Institute so he could communicate with people from different countries. Communication is extremely important in our world today and as journalists we use our words as our weapons. But the communication from our government is confusing and (as with the infamous banner) sometimes wrong.
It is not wrong, however, to question something as life altering as war. When a son doesn’t come home, we should all ask why. We can’t sit on our hands and wonder when the war will end.
Even though we may have never met Cpl. Bernard Corpuz, each one of us may be sitting where he sat in a class or walking through the same doors he did. The fact is that the War on Terror has come home and it’s up to our generation to decide what happens next.