Veteran’s Day is marked each year with the cancellation of classes, but the national holiday has another significance, especially to current and past members of the military who take it as an opportunity to honor those who have served.
About 100 Ohio State ROTC cadets came together in front of Bricker Hall on Thursday morning during the annual Rock Ceremony, which honors Ohio State students and alumni who have served their country.
“It’s a celebration of those who have served and those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country and laid down their life in defense of our way of life and our freedoms,” said Mike Carrell, assistant provost and director of the Office of Military and Veterans Services.
The event included the playing of “Taps,” a 21-gun salute, the placing of a wreath on the donated rock along with guest speaker, Karen Mendoza.
Mendoza, whose husband, U.S. Marine Corps Major Ray Mendoza, passed away on Nov. 14, 2005, while serving in Iraq. Mendoza House, formerly named Neilwood Gables, now bears his name in honor of his service.
“I want this day to not only be about the people that we have lost that paid the ultimate sacrifice, but about our future leaders and warriors that stand before us today,” she said.
The Rock Ceremony has been taking place since 1918, according to Carrell, who said the tradition began when the class of 1918 donated the rock in front of Bricker Hall to honor those who lost their lives in World War I.
Since the university is closed on Veteran’s Day, the ceremony is held the Thursday before.
The ROTC cadets also spend the day honoring veterans with a 12-hour run around the Oval.
“There are no words that could explain how much this ceremony is very much appreciated,” explained Colin Winter, Former Sergeant in the U.S. Army and president of Vets for Vets at OSU.
“These people we’re honoring today, they walked the same halls as us, the same streets, went to the same classes as us, so it’s very humbling to be able to be in this position,” said Lucas Blumenschein, a fourth-year student and cadet command sergeant major of the Buckeye Battalion.