Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Respecting the Commitment of Graduating ROTC College Seniors

It’s college graduation season – and while this season gives me numerous blogging topics for – I’m talking about something different in this post.

And this something different is that, throughout the U.S., there are graduating college seniors who, as ROTC cadets, are now being commissioned as officers in the different branches of the U.S. military.

I was reminded of this by the May 20th Wall Street Journal “Main Street” column by William McGurn entitled “Why Harvard Harasses the Military.” In the column McGurn contrasts college graduation at Benedictine College in Atchinson, Kansas, with college graduation at Harvard. The contrast has to do with the different level of respect given to each college’s graduating ROTC cadets.

Here’s a description of Benedictine: “After all the degrees had been handed out, two young men in dress blue were called back on stage. Before their families, their classmates, and their teachers, these men raised their right hands and swore to ‘support and defend’ our Constitution. And then Lt. Jeff Fetters and Lt. Michael Mundie were presented to their class as ‘the newest officers in the United States Army.’”

As I was writing this post, my younger daughter said that I should write about when her father was commissioned. I went to my albums – and discovered it was exactly 40 years ago today – on Tuesday, May 21, 1968 – that the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army Reserve Officers Training Corps of Michigan State University held its 1968 ROTC commissioning parade at “four-ten o’clock” at Demonstration Hall Field!

I still have the commissioning program with the list of the ROTC army cadets including my future husband and his assigned branch – infantry. Major General Robert H. Curtin gave the main address: “There is a need for top quality, professionally qualified, dedicated and motivated people in the military service of our country.” He could be speaking about today.

With the approach of Memorial Day, instead of only thinking about the beach or shopping or the fourth installment of the movie “Indiana Jones,” keep in mind these patriotic words and show respect for the men and women today who support and defend our Constitution.

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