Veterans honored in Edinboro University flag ceremony and salute, 100 years after WWI

Category:  News
Wednesday, November 14th, 2018 at 6:55 PM

Approaching the weekend of Veterans Day, Edinboro University held a ceremony of honor and gratitude. The Reveille Flag Ceremony and 21-Gun Salute took place on the front lawn outside Reeder Hall, on Friday at 11 a.m., with a reception in the hall lobby following.

After the cannon was fired, “Reveille” was played as members of the color guard team unfolded and raised the U.S. flag, which was followed by the singing of “The Star- Spangled Banner” before a 21-Gun Salute.

Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadet Kyle Swain commenced the inside reception with the introduction of the four speakers, with the first being Lt. Col. Ben Kavanagh of the ROTC, who is a professor of military science.

“We stand united to thank veterans for the sacrifices they have made. We gather at events like this to honor not just recent generations of veterans, but every man and woman who has honorably served since the American Revolution,” said Kavanagh. 

With a mention of the U.S. flag, Kavanagh stated that citizens should not stand for the national anthem and our flag for any reason “other than to honor our country and those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”

Sgt. Lindsey Gruber, a graduate student, shared her experiences in the military and at Edinboro. “[Those in the military] are taught discipline, accountability and integrity, among other things,” she said. Gruber wants to obtain her master’s degree and become an army officer, and stated that without her military experience, it would not be possible.

Interim Edinboro University President Michael Hannan acknowledged all veterans and members at Edinboro, along with the fact that improvements could and should be made. “We strive to repay but in truth, we continue to receive much more than we give,” said Hannan. 

From Nov. 8-11, the names of current and former military service members were featured in a slideshow on campus televisions and digital boards.

Andrew Matt, the veterans success coordinator, shared that Nov. 11 marked the 100th anniversary since the end of World War I, along with some history on how Veterans Day began. 

On Nov. 11, 1919, Armistice Day was declared by then President Woodrow Wilson, and held that name until 1954 when the name was changed to Veterans Day at the request of then President Dwight D. Eisenhower. 

The last veteran from World War I, Frank Woodruff Buckles, died in 2011, yet Matt stressed that the memory of all World War I veterans lives on through those who served then and those who serve now.

This is the first year that a flag raising ceremony was held at Edinboro University, and about 70 members of ROTC, which included graduates, participated. 

Zach Weidner, a senior and cadet who oversaw the color guard team as they took part in unfolding the flag and then raising it, feels that the ceremony in its entirety is solemn.

“It’s very representative of Veterans Day,” said Weidner, who is also proud of the progress that the ROTC team is making outside the ceremony. “I’m proud of everybody and what happened today; this year, I think is exceptional.”  

Baylon Northup, an ROTC cadet who was part of the honor guard conducting the 21-Gun Salute, said that while it was cold outside, he enjoyed the ceremony as well.

“We’ve been practicing throughout the whole week, so we were ready for it,” he said. To Northup, the ceremony is important and “leaves a powerful, lasting impression.” He shared that a sense of purpose is felt each time it happens.

As Kavanagh also stated, “Veterans put us first, and today we put veterans first.”

Amber Chisholm can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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