Look Before You Park

By Kristy Howarth (Combat Veteran)

Asking you, my fellow SMCC attendees, to not park in the highly obvious purple heart parking spots, has gone on to no end. To “break it down Barney style,” I will explain what makes you ineligible to park in the reserved combat-wounded veterans’ parking spots bestowed by SMCC.

First, if you are not a veteran. This should be obvious. Many individuals have asked, “what are veterans?” A veteran is a person who has served in the military, also known as the Armed Forces.

Serving in the Army makes you a veteran.
Serving in the Marine Corps makes you a veteran.
Serving in the Navy makes you a veteran.
Serving in the Air Force makes you a veteran.
Serving in the Coast Guard makes you a veteran.

Parking in the Combat Wounded Veteran parking spots, if you are not a veteran, makes you ill-mannered, disrespectful, rude and ignorant.

Second, if you are not a combat veteran. By definition, a combat veteran is a member of the Armed Forces who has directly engaged enemies and received fire as a member of a unit assigned to combat operations. Additionally, veterans who have served in a combat zone, but not under a combat unit, are eligible to be combat veterans. If you’ve enlisted and been deployed to a combat zone, you’re a combat veteran. If you haven’t enlisted, then you’ve never deployed. This is simple, yet confuses many simple-minded civilians.

Third, if you are not a combat-wounded veteran. Yes, it matters! A veteran who has been wounded in action has experienced a traumatic event directly related to engaging enemy forces in service of our country. The soldier, sailor, Marine, airman, or Coast Guardsman has suffered injury inflicted by an external force during combat and has survived, and continues to battle injuries beyond initial hospital admission. Unambiguously stated: If you don’t meet the first two criterion, you will not meet this one. It’s not prejudice or bias, it’s a fact.

I’m not a recruiter, nor am I trying to get you to enlist; many of us wouldn’t want you to. As a combat veteran myself, I can’t park in these parking spots. And I want my fellow SMCC students to understand: You didn’t raise your hand to serve our country, you didn’t write a blank check for someone else’s freedom’s, and you haven’t contributed to society as a combat-wounded veteran has. So, you certainly aren’t entitled to the use of the parking spots. These Purple Heart parking spots aren’t to serve your entitled needs or idiocy; they are for those that have defended your rights and didn’t think twice about it.

Combat Veteran
A parking sign noting a reserved space for wounded veterans.

So next time you want to go to an office, the café, or the Campus Center, find a regular parking spot like the rest of us. Don’t bother lying; we see you park there, we talk to campus security, and we know your feeble excuses: “I didn’t know what the sign meant.” “Oh, I can’t park here?” “I’m only gonna be five minutes.”

Your excuses are weak and inexcusable. If you don’t know what the sign means, then DON’T PARK IN THE SPOT!

Your blatant disregard in this matter has displaced actual combat-wounded veterans from parking where they are entitled to park. SMCC has been issuing a $25 fine and a $40 boot fee for parking violations in these reserved spots, both at the South Portland Campus and the Midcoast Campus.

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