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ROTC begins 24-hour vigil at Clarke Fountain on behalf of Veterans Day

| Monday, November 10, 2014

Navy, Army and Air Force ROTC cadets and midshipmen began their 24-hour vigil at the Clarke Memorial Fountain on North Quad yesterday, honoring the legacy of American veterans of war on Veterans Day.

Senior and Midshipman First Class Lizzie Terino said the vigil began Monday at 4:30 p.m. and will last until 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

“To honor the legacy of all those who have served in those wars, especially the Notre Dame grads, we stand a vigil shift for 24 hours,” she said. “After the conclusion of our vigil, we’ll have a ceremony with all three ROTC units and a guest speaker — just to talk about what people have done before us and the honor and privilege of serving.”

Members of the Navy ROTC participate in the Pass and Review on South Quad on April 9. ROTC members will participate in a 24-hour vigil at the Clarke Memorial Fountain for Veterans Day. Emily McConville | The Observer

Members of the Navy ROTC participate in the Pass and Review on South Quad on April 9. ROTC members will participate in a 24-hour vigil at the Clarke Memorial Fountain for Veterans Day.

Senior and battalion commander for Army ROTC Michael Loftus said the cadets and midshipmen take shifts throughout the 24-hour vigil. Each shift has four slots, one to be filled by a member from each of the three services and one that can be filled by a member from any of the services, he said.

“We organize by half-hours,” Loftus said. “Sometimes people will take two shifts in a row or even longer, but each shift is 30 minutes long.”

Terino said the vigil takes place at the Clarke Memorial Fountain because the fountain is dedicated to veterans.

“The Clarke Memorial Fountain is a war memorial fountain; it’s not just something we run through on game weekends,” she said. “Each of the four sides is dedicated to veterans, of World War II, Korea, Vietnam and those who have served in peace times.”

As a senior, Terino said her experience participating in the vigil for the past three years varied depending on what shift she took.

“When you’re doing it in the afternoon or during the day, a lot of people come by and take pictures,” she said. “So you are thinking about what it means for other people that you’re serving. … When you do it at night and it’s dark and peaceful and there’s really no one around, you are sort of reflecting on why you’re doing it. You start thinking about all the stories you’ve heard about the people who have done it before you.

“So the time of day really dictates your mood.”

Loftus said he has always taken shifts in the middle of the night.

“There’s definitely a lot of time of reflection, if you are prone to do that,” Loftus said. “Most people like it and think it’s a cool experience, even when it’s snowing or raining.”

Terino said participating in the vigil on Veterans Day enables her to commend her family members’ military service, as well as others who have made sacrifices for freedom.

“My father, grandfather and uncle were in the Air Force; my grandfather did two tours in Vietnam,” she said. “Every year it’s an incredible opportunity, especially studying history here at Notre Dame and taking history classes. I went to the World War II museum over fall break, and [heard] the stories of people and what they’ve gone through, and situations that I can’t even fathom.

“It’s an incredible opportunity to take the time out of our busy schedules, and to really think about why we have the freedom to be this busy, to remember what others have gone through for that. …We are here at school, and I feel like we always get wrapped up in our schedules, so it’s always nice to take the time to honor the people who have served and allowed us this freedom to do what we do.”

Terino said the vigil previews the support she looks forward to gaining when she joins the Navy.

“Any time you put the uniform on, you are representing everybody in Navy and what they are doing,” she said. “A lot of people will start thanking you for your service, which as ROTC students is hard to wrap our heads around because we haven’t felt like we’ve done a whole lot yet, but it’s inspiring to get that kind of support and to know that two or three years down the road, when we are giving that service, when we are on ships or deployed, that there are people back at home who recognize that we are sacrificing time with our family or other things to have that opportunity to serve our country.”

Loftus said his participation in the vigil commemorates the service of his grandfathers as well as the service of his friends from the University program and from his home.

“One of my grandfathers, I never met,” Loftus said. “He died before I was born, so it’s nice to be honoring him and there are guys who were fellow cadets a couple years ago, who are now deployed or overseas.”

Meadow Jackson, sophomore and ROTC midshipman, said the vigil is a unique opportunity to honor those who have served.
“Standing vigil in front of the war memorial reminds me why I came to Notre Dame,” she said. “To serve my God, my country and my family and friends. My father is a veteran, so today is a special day for me.”
Jackson said although Veteran’s Day commemorates soldiers past, it transcends American generations.
“I’m carrying on a tradition way more important than one individual,” Jackson said. “We do this for generations past present and future — so no one will forget the sacrifices made by so many so that we could be free.”
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About Catherine Owers

Senior News Writer Catherine Owers is a senior from New Orleans, Louisiana. She is studying English and Theology.

Contact Catherine