BGSU to rededicate military memorial, celebrate anniversaries

BOWLING GREEN, O.—November is a time of anniversaries and remembrance for Bowling Green State University’s Air Force (AFROTC) and Army ROTC. They will commemorate fallen BGSU alumni and former students with the rededication of a campus memorial on Saturday (Nov. 12). In addition, AFROTC Detachment 620 will celebrate its 60th anniversary and BGSU Army ROTC its 63rd anniversary at the 60th annual joint military ball on Nov. 18.

Memorial Hall was dedicated in 1961 in memory of BGSU students who had lost their lives in active duty. The current plaque in the south lobby of Anderson Arena holds 78 names of individuals who served in World War I, World War II and the Korean War. The rededication ceremony, at 1 p.m. Saturday, will honor the 25 former BGSU students who have died since 1961 as a result of their service and who are not represented on the plaque. Their names will be added to the plaque.

A wing will be added on each side of the original plaque and is designed to accommodate any additional names if needed, BGSU Army ROTC Alumni Society President David Ridenour said.

Ridenour began this project after he came across the name of an alumnus who was killed in Iraq in 2005.  “I thought, ‘He should be added to this plaque,’” the Vietnam veteran said. “These individuals have given their lives, and people need to know who these people are. It’s a matter of preserving history.”

“The take-away is to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice,” Army Lt. Col. Douglas Mohler said.

To mark its 75th anniversary, the American Legion Buckeye Boys State, in partnership with the Ohio American Legion, is sponsoring the presentation.

Both Air Force and Army ROTC cadets will be attending the rededication. 

“It helps make it real,” Air Force 1st Lt. Emerson Goncus said. “They learn about these wars in their military classes but they actually see the names of people from this University who participated.”

“A Look Back in Time” is the theme for the joint military ball, which about 250 people expected to attend this year, Air Force Lt. Col. Hien Nguyen said. The event traditionally features attendees in colorful military dress uniforms and formal attire.

Mohler also stressed that military balls are a part of tradition and are essential to professional development as an active duty member. Cadets are able to network and interact within and outside of their academy.

Col. Mark A. Ross, a 1985 BGSU graduate, will be the keynote speaker at the ball.  Ross recently retired from active duty as Chief of the Congressional Issues/Policy Integration Division, Office of the Air Force Reserve at the Pentagon.

“The guest speaker makes you feel like you can make a difference,” Air Force Cadet Ryan Deming, a junior, said. “There’s a whole mix of emotions that happen at the event.”

One tradition that often elicits strong emotion is the empty table saved for those missing in action and the prisoners of war.

“It’s a very humbling event,” Nguyen said. “It’s these little things that puts perspective on the profession that [cadets] are getting ready to take on. But it’s also a chance for camaraderie and to enjoy one of the oldest traditions in the military.”     

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(Posted November 08, 2011 )