16:12 PM

Rock Ceremony begins weekend honoring veterans

The annual Rock Ceremony at The Ohio State University, a somber tribute to the sacrifice made by alumni in service of the country, launched a series of honors for veterans this weekend.

Thursday, in a cold and steady downpour, university leadership and members of the Army, Navy and Air Force ROTC units presented a wreath of flowers at the rock that honors the lives of more than 900 Ohio State alumni. The ceremony has been celebrated for more than 100 years and includes a 21-gun salute and a rendition of “Taps.”

“It’s one of the most solemn and heartfelt traditions we have at this university,” President Michael V. Drake said.

Drake spoke to assembled members of the university’s ROTC units and local veterans in front of Bricker Hall. The university has about 2,300 military-connected students enrolled at Ohio State and about 1,400 faculty and staff who are veterans.

“For 150 years, Buckeyes have aspired to achieve a lasting impact on communities here in Ohio and around the world,” he said. “There is, perhaps, no greater representation of this important work than when we look to the example set forward by our brave servicemen and women.”

Guest speaker Lt. Col. Thomas Lippert, a retired Army veteran, spoke about the importance of remembering the freedom allowed in the United States. Lippert said when he was in Iraq, it was common for Iraqis he worked with to suffer religious persecution.

“I’ve been in 18 countries around the world, and there are countries where you cannot share your religious views with other people. That’s a freedom we enjoy in this country,” Lippert said.

Lippert asked the guests to remember veterans and the freedoms their service protect. He pointed out the sacrifices veterans and their families endure as part of their service, noting he missed many birthdays and ballgames for his children while serving overseas.

“When you join the military you raise your right hand and write a blank check to this country. You don’t know what is going to be asked of you,” he said. “The veterans who sign up to serve this country, to ensure the freedoms we enjoy, know what they are getting into.”

The Ohio State-Maryland matchup on Saturday is the annual military appreciation game at Ohio Stadium, a salute to those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces with a flyover and recognition of service members taking place throughout the game.

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

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