To celebrate Memorial Day 2013, VIU students and staff participated in the Falls Church Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 27, 2013. Memorial Day is a federal holiday to remember those who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Walking underneath the bright blue VIU balloon, the Virginia International University students and staff joined the local community in honoring the fallen. The parade was shown on local television, and you can see our proud VIU group here!

Below, two VIU students recall their experiences of the parade.

Joining the parade in Fall Church, VA as a Virginia International University graduate student and participating by marching and waving the flags of the United States and VIU was a great experience.  The weather was perfect. There was very tight security run by the Falls Church police officers and sheriff. There were a lot of people and children on both sides of the street that represented all races.  There were a lot of smiling and surprised faces that seemed to say, “What school is this with the big blue balloon?” Some children were asking for candy.  The best part was when VIU students came closer and the announcement was made, “Here comes Virginia International University!” and everybody shouted and raised their flags. The people clapped and waved at us and some cheered until the end of the parade. 
-Ms. Nina Nwaobilo, Graduate Student, TESOL

The United States of America is a country which cares about others, supports others in disaster, holds the hand of deprived people, and provides hope to homeless people. The USA is known as a country of opportunities. However, the freedom its citizens have was never free; many patriot solders have sacrificed their lives for this beautiful land. As part of the VIU family, we believe in the motto, “Let’s build the future together.” I found a connection between these words and the USA’s freedom, which was achieved by the combined effort of the soldiers. As a VIU family we marched on the road at Falls Church to show the respect to the veterans.
On May 27, 2013, for the first time in VIU history, students, staff, and family members walked in the Memorial Day Parade. We met at Great Falls on Church Street, around 1:00 P.M. Ms. Yanisse Berrios, Student Affairs Assistant, was there to welcome the students and their family members, and gave instructions about how to walk in the parade. The university SUV was well decorated for the parade with USA flags. The most interesting was the big VIU helium balloon, which was the biggest attraction of the parade. About 65 teams participated in the parade but no one had a big helium balloon like ours.  
We started marching at 2:00 P.M. It was a great experience.  Both sides of the road were full of people who were there to enjoy the parade for Memorial Day. Many different types of groups participated in the parade; some were dancing teams, some were environment supporters, and some were riding in vintage cars. Little kids were very fond of the big helium balloon. They were shouting, “Balloon man, balloon man!” As we walked, audiences from both sides of the street were clapping and encouraging us with big smiles. When we reached the stage at the end of the parade route the judges announced our school’s name and everyone was clapping and appreciating us; that was the best moment of the day.
I really enjoyed that parade. Hopefully, next year it will be even bigger, and we will perform on the stage. I am really grateful to VIU’s Office of Student Affairs for arranging such events. If a parade is like that I could walk all day long. I am really glad that I am a part of the VIU team. 

-Alifuzzaman A H M, Graduate Student, MBA