Annual Rock Ceremony honors Ohio State veterans
Tradition dates to the end of World War I
Members of The Ohio State University Reserve Officers’ Training Corps continued a more than 100-year-old tradition Thursday, honoring the alumni of the university who sacrificed their lives in the service of their country.
The annual Rock Ceremony takes place at Bricker Hall every year as a wreath is placed at a memorial rock honoring Ohio State veterans. This year, due to restrictions on large gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, the university continued the tradition in front of a smaller crowd.
“It’s an honor to join today for one of the university’s most enduring annual traditions, the annual Rock Ceremony, which traces its roots back to Nov. 19, 1919, more than a hundred years ago,” said President Kristina M. Johnson. “When I think about it, it’s quite a moving ceremony, as you can imagine. This was something that The Ohio State University put together within one week of the end of World War I, Armistice Day. To me, that shows the Buckeye spirit. We see something, we do something and it endures for over one hundred years.”
Much like the very first ceremony in 1919, there was a moment of silence, the playing of taps and the solemn march of the wreath to its resting place. ROTC members and representatives of Vets 4 Vets, the university’s veterans student organization, looked on.
“The resilience through sacrifice that this university and our military veterans have consistently demonstrated over time, dating back over a century, gives us hope and inspiration that will undoubtedly carry us forward,” said Lt. Col. John Toohey, professor of military science. “The continued service of veterans of The Ohio State University and the tribute we observe here today embody the pride and spirit and unity instilled within the halls of this university and on the line of our military units today.”
More than 2,200 military-connected students are enrolled at Ohio State, and about 1,400 faculty and staff are veterans. Johnson pointed out that the university continues to rank among the top colleges serving veterans.
“On behalf of the Buckeye Nation, it’s a privilege to honor the service and sacrifices of our military members, not just today, but every day,” she said. “Thank you again for all that you’ve done and continue to do to protect our nation and our country.”
Ohio State will observe Veterans Day on Wednesday. There will be no classes and offices are closed.