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Notre Dame tri-military ROTC holds Veterans Day ceremony

| Thursday, November 12, 2020

Faculty, staff, cadets and midshipmen of Notre Dame’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) held the annual Veterans Day Ceremony at the Clarke Memorial Fountain on Wednesday. Members of the Army, Navy and Air Force ROTC participated in the ceremony to honor veterans. 

Megan Fahrney | The Observer

Members of the Notre Dame ROTC gathered in front of the Clarke Memorial Fountain to commemorate Veterans Day Wednesday evening.

 

Andrew Brannon, a first-year master’s student and second lieutenant in the Air Force, said the Veterans Day Ceremony is a big part of what they do in ROTC. 

“It’s thanking the veterans, making sure we’re aware of the sacrifices they’ve [made] and showing our appropriate respectfulness towards that,” Brannon said. 

For 24 hours prior to the ceremony, ROTC members held a vigil, taking shifts standing guard at Clarke Memorial Fountain to pay respects to veterans. The fountain was guarded despite the rain Tuesday night. 

“It’s similar to the theme that we have of being respectful, being professional [and] making sure that we have the proper respect for the veterans during the vigil, regardless of weather and conditions,” said sophomore Pat Campbell, a cadet third class. 

The ceremony began with remarks on the history of Veterans Day, the national anthem and a prayer.  

Joe Donnelly, former U.S. Senator of Indiana, was the keynote speaker at the ceremony. Donnelly earned both his B.A. and J.D. from Notre Dame. He is now a professor at the University in the department of political science.

Donnelly’s speech emphasized the heroism of our servicemen and women and of Notre Dame veterans’ contributions to the armed forces.

 He described the importance of the words, “God, Country, Notre Dame,” which is inscribed on the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. 

“It’s so much more than a slogan,” Donnelly said. “It is the code by which we try to live our lives.”

Donnelly spoke of Fr. William Corby, a former president of Notre Dame, who served as a Union Army chaplain in the Civil War. Corby was attached to the Irish Brigade at the Battle of Gettysburg. 

Donnelly then addressed current Notre Dame ROTC members, affirming the importance of the lessons they learn at Notre Dame in regards to their future deployments with the military. 

“We believe in service [at Notre Dame], … and all of you who are in ROTC epitomize that completely,” Donnelly said. 

Notre Dame ROTC gifted Donnelly with a plaque in appreciation of his speech. 

“I thought [Donnelly’s speech] was really important,” Brannon said. “Especially at a time when our country is so divided. … It was a speech about unity and what brings us together and celebrating the sacrifices that everyone’s made so that we can get to where we are today.”

Freshman Annmarie Hackworthy, a cadet fourth class, believes guarding the fountain is a good time for ROTC members to reflect on what veterans have sacrificed for our country and to remember they are falling in that line of duty. 

“It’s really cool to be able to honor the veterans by doing this,” Hackworthy said. “It’s a little thing that we can do for them when they gave it all.”

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