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Dear Honorable President Barack Hussein Obama II and Family,

I felt the need to write you this letter for two reasons, to say thank you and to say I am sorry.

THANK YOU.
I don’t know how many people have thanked you for being one of the greatest Presidents we have ever had in this country. Through judgement of your legitimacy and unsurmountable opposition, to every move you have tried to make for the betterment of this country, you have served this country with style and grace in a way that no President in my knowledge has ever done. You and your family have done so much, knowing that you will never get the credit you deserve.

I am an army veteran, and throughout your Presidency, regardless of the decisions you have had to make, I have never been more proud to serve this country. You and the First Lady, Michelle Obama will be the examples of who I want my children to desire to emulate. You have inspired me to be a better version of myself every day, and after you leave the Presidency I will continue down that path.

The fight that you have fought does not and will not end with you. You are an inspiration to people the world over.  You have held the world on your shoulders in a way that no one ever believed you could and you did it as a gentleman and a scholar.

To the First Lady, you are the standard of how women across the world should be held to.

To your daughters, be proud in the fact that your parents are heroes in every sense of what a hero is supposed to be. They should be proud of the fact that they have played part in the making of a symbol of greatness for people who have been too far under served by this nation for too long.

I AM SORRY.
I am sorry that too many of us have left you to do this alone. I am sorry that too few of us in this nation took up the mantle of hope that you started this journey with and spread it across this nation. I am sorry that that we abandoned you on the battle field in Washington D.C. as many of us sat back and watched while you were attached from every side imaginable, and then blamed you for not doing enough. You have never let us down; we have forsaken the faith that you had in us. I am sorry that somehow we allowed hate to beat out love.

There is so much more I want to say, but in this moment, my heart is heavy.

However, there is an upside to this dark day. Today is my birthday, and when I woke up this morning I cried, because this is the first time in my life I feel ashamed to have served this country. Then I looked at my son and I reinvigorated in my focus. I was reminded of why you inspire me. My gift to myself on this day is to work harder than ever in everything that I do. I will not let this wave of hatred weaken my stance against animosity in any of its forms. I pray that others will join me in fighting against all the division and distraction that has crawled out of the darkness, by way of the Republican representation and those of like-minded ideologies.

Your victories will stand forever in me and all those who are now can see our current reality.

Lauren Patterson is a single father, student in the Communication and Program program at CUNY SPS, entrepreneur, and a veteran. However, first and foremost Lauren is a student of life. Lauren is a self-proclaimed work in progress, and thrives on his motto: live to be the successful person you already are.

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To all of the veterans, active troops, and military families in the SPS community, we thank you! Returning home and making higher education a goal is not always easy.  We asked alum Armando Vega, and current student Enrique Diaz to share some of their thoughts on being student veterans.

1. What branch of the United States Military did you serve, and for how many years were you enlisted?

I was in the U.S. Navy, and I served honorably for 4 years (1994 – 1998).

2. What CUNY SPS program did you receive a degree in, when, and how has that changed your life?

I earned an MA in Labor Studies. My desire is to work in Human Resources and the Labor Relations department. My dream is to one day become the HR manager and or director of a reputable corporation.

3. Were your experiences as a student affected by also being a veteran?

Not really because I returned to school much later in life, and my classmates where older working class adults. I try to keep my veteran status private for the most part.

4. What does Veterans Day mean to you?

Veterans Day is close to being the most important day of the year next to July 4th. It is a day of remembrance for the sacrifices made by the many brave men and women that has enabled this great nation to remain free from tyranny.

5. What advice do you have for newly returning veterans?

To be resilient, and realize that the civilian world is not very kind to returning veterans, and that finding employment is very difficult right now. Keep the faith and seek help from the Veterans Administration.

Any additional thoughts?

For me to attend CUNY and earn my Masters degree was a worthwhile accomplishment, and hopefully I can use it to advance in my career.


1. What branch of the United States Military did you serve, and for how many years were you enlisted?

I served 6 years as a Religious Program Specialist (RP) with the United States Navy and 4 years as an 0111 (Administrative Specialist) with the United States Marine Corps.

2. What CUNY SPS program did you receive a degree in, when, and how has that changed your life?

Currently enrolled in the Public Administration Certificate Program, once completed, June 2013, I plan on transferring to Brooklyn College for a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Once I have earned my degree in Political Science, I hope to use it to advance my career within City government.

3. Were your experiences as a student affected by also being a veteran?

My yearning for learning was nurtured while I was on active duty. As a veteran, I now have more time to pursue my desire to learn.

4. What does Veterans Day mean to you?

It’s a day of reflection. I think back to my time served, my friends and family who have served and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that I could live in a land where the only one holding me back is myself. All the opportunities are there for the taking.

5. What advice do you have for newly returning veterans?

Take advantage of any programs available to you. Use your GI Bill to further your education and make yourself more marketable. As sad as it is to say, being a veteran is simply not enough anymore to obtain a good paying job to sustain yourself and your family.