As hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops are stationed in Saudi Arabia poised for a possible war, hundreds of reserve officers and students paid tribute to those killed in past wars at a ceremony Friday. With flags blowing with the slight breeze and the Star-Spangled Banner being played in the background, members of the University's ROTC gathered at the Veterans' Memorial in front of the Palestra in a solemn ceremony marking Veterans' Day. Many officers and speakers used the ceremony to reflect on the current situation in the Persian Gulf and hoped that many people would understand the importance of remembering those killed while fighting for their nation. U.S. Representative Paul Kanjorski (D-11th District) gave a 10-minute address stressing the importance of the day saying it publicizes the message of peace and the United States' willingness to fight for it, at any cost. "For 200 years, we have been celebrating the tradition of performing war in order to keep peace," Kanjorski said. "In Saudi Arabia, the President and the Army are performing acts of freedom because this is the first time which the united world is standing to maintain peace." Kanjorski suggested creating an international criminal code, which would punish a leader or a society because of its "egregious" conduct. "If we accomplish this, we will accomplish peace," Kanjorski said. Senior Cadet Captain Brian Bell said Veterans' Day gives him "the opportunity to look at past officers and soldiers and all they did to promote peace and democracy." But he added that it also brings the Gulf crisis that much closer to him adding that he is concerned for the three people he knows that are serving in Saudi Arabia. Cadet Rachael Slayd, a battalion commander and organizer of the ceremony, she she cannot help but concentrate on the Persian Gulf because "the current veterans are there now and you wonder when you'll become one of them." The ceremony included a march from the Hollenbach Center with students representing the University, Bryn Mawr College, St. Joseph's University and other area colleges. The ceremony closed with Representative Kanjorski laying a wreath at the base of the monument as the Reserve Officers Training Corps band played "Taps" and the battalions raised their arms in salute at the conclusion of the ceremony.Comments powered by Disqus
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