Pass in Review location not acceptable
Observer Viewpoint | Thursday, April 15, 2004
April 14 was a beautiful day to be outside. A warm breeze and clear skies marked the day of the annual Presidential Pass in Review Ceremony. That afternoon, I had to make my way through the maze of construction fences to find the Loftus Center where the ceremony was to take place indoors.
Earlier this year, my Senate committee recognized the student demand for an outdoor location for the ceremony. We collected 2,082 signatures in only one week, petitioning for its relocation. Student Activities denied the request and cited reasons such as convenience and previous low-student attendance. In response, my committee took the project further to create greater awareness of the ceremony among the student body. We made posters, flyers and table tents. With greater campus discussion, students realized their uniformed peers were leaving the Notre Dame bubble for active duty. When our country is in a time of war, it is important to realize many of the soldiers and sailors who fight today were only marching in Loftus last year.
I worked to move the ceremony outdoors because ROTC cadets and midshipmen want the ceremony outdoors. As we continued the project, I learned that many non-ROTC students want an outdoor ceremony equally, such as myself. We simply want a flagpole, real grass and the possibility of an aircraft flyover. Contrary to popular rumor, the original relocation four years ago was neither in response to anti-ROTC protestors nor as a way of hiding the ROTC program. University President Father Edward Malloy spoke of the pride Notre Dame feels towards the ROTC program at Wednesday’s ceremony. While the past four years in Loftus may have been for the planner’s convenience, this year the ROTC department wanted an outdoor location. The Student Activities department felt that an outdoor venue was not necessary and Loftus was fully adequate. They were mistaken.
The ceremony attendance on Wednesday was the greatest in the past four years inside Loftus. Captain Shelton of the Navy Department told me the crowd size was four times larger than last year’s. While the 2,082 petitioners did not all join me, I feel the large audience demonstrated the Notre Dame community’s committed support for the cadets and midshipmen who marched before us. The crowd certainly fit inside Loftus, but the fieldhouse was not adequate for the ceremony. The Pass in Review deserves an outdoor location, to honor all those who attended, including active duty officers and veterans. I hope the ceremony will remain on people’s minds and that next year the student body will once again encourage Student Activities to reconsider the ceremony’s location. On a personal note, I want to thank the ROTC department and students for their continued assistance in the project. It has been an honor. Thank you.
2003-04 Pasquerilla West Senator