Ohio State Veterans Day events honor those who served

Students, faculty and alumni support a tradition of military service at Ohio State

By: Chris Booker

Published on November 09, 2017

Tiny markers of red, white and blue dot the green grass along the South Oval. The American flags are one of many tributes to veterans at The Ohio State University for Veterans Day.

Students from Vets 4 Vets planted about 2,300 flags Thursday morning. Each flag represented the Ohio State students, faculty and staff who have served in the armed forces.

The student organization also invited the campus community to join them in planting flags for veteran friends and family members.

“We're helping out veterans who are just coming out of the military and are coming to take classes here and trying to progress in their life and in their education,” said Vets 4 Vets member Lawrence Kavulich. “We help them with that transition and also make sure that they know that they're not alone. There's a family here and it helps them out.”

Kavulich, a third-year aerospace engineering major, is also an Air Force veteran. He was out at 8 a.m. to help plant the flags and encourage others to join him. Kavulich said the help he has received at Ohio State has been critical.

“I think they do an amazing job. Last year in the fall, I had to leave the semester early because I was activated. I had to go on deployment,” he said. “The university helped me with my classes; they let me take my exams before I was deployed. They made sure all of my scheduling was in order. And when I came back from deployment they helped me transition back to classes.”

A wreath is left at the monument for Ohio State's fallen alumni

The Vets 4 Vets Flag Display is in its third year. The university’s annual Rock Ceremony dates back much further.

The ceremony recognizes the more than 1,000 alumni of Ohio State who died in service to the country as members of the armed forces. The tradition dates to 1919 when “Taps” was played once per week in memory of students who had lost their lives. That tradition has evolved into the Rock Ceremony, conducted by Army, Navy and Air Force ROTC units on campus.

Peter Mansoor, Colonel, U.S. Army (retired), and the General Raymond E. Mason, Jr. Chair of Military History, was the guest speaker at the ceremony. He noted the sacrifice Ohio State alumni have made in the protection of the nation.

“Our institutions of higher education, including The Ohio State University, are the envy of the world. But we only enjoy peace in the pursuit of happiness in our land because we are protected by those willing to serve and advance its interests. And, if necessary, to sacrifice their lives in the nation’s service,” Mansoor said. “Graduates of The Ohio State University have served in all of our nation's wars since the founding of the university in 1870.”

The Rock Ceremony is not just for students, faculty and staff. Veteran alumni return every year to witness the playing of “Taps,” a 21-gun salute and the wreath laying at a monument to service in front of Bricker Hall.

The Veterans Day Silent Run

Army veteran and Ohio State alum Robert Darragh said he comes to the ceremony every year with his friends and fellow veterans Edward Land and Nelson Coleman.

“I wouldn’t miss this regardless of what the conditions are,” Darragh said. “I am always thrilled to see that the university is recognizing the veterans. I’m always thrilled that we have the ROTC detachment show up as well.”

The Veterans Day Silent Run is another way students honor those who have served. The 12-hour run begins at 6 a.m. with ROTC members running in a continuous loop around the Oval.

They carry the U.S. flag and a flag honoring prisoners of war and those missing in action.

Ohio State will observe Veterans Day on Friday. There will be no classes and offices are closed.

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Chris Booker
614-292-7276 | Email

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