Francesca Seta/The Hoya ROTC cadets prepare to fold the colors during a Veterans’ Day ceremony that included members of all six area colleges’ ROTC programs.

Nearly 90 cadets from six area universities, including the over 30 cadets from Georgetown, gathered on Copley Lawn Tuesday in honor of Veterans Day. The group, which included cadets from the Hoya Battalion, remembered Georgetown veterans and listened to speeches about the significance of the day.

“Every generation of Americans has had to learn for themselves the price of liberty,” Retired General Donn Starry said to the crowd of students, faculty and military personnel.

Major Valarie Austin, executive officer of the Hoya Reserve Officer’s Training Corps Battalion, oversaw the event. The Rev. Edward Bodnar, S.J., offered the invocation, a role usually played by the late Rev. Joseph Durkin, S.J., who died in May at age 100. Bodnar asked the audience to honor Durkin’s memory with a brief moment of silence.

The U.S. Army Cadet Creed was then read aloud after which U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Allen J. Gill, a Georgetown military science professor, made several introductory remarks. “It’s a great day to be a soldier and a great day to be here in the nation’s capital,” Gill said. “Today marks the end, in 1918, of the war to end all wars. How we all wish that was true. Those who have gone before and those currently serving allow us to sit here in peace today.”

Starry offered a brief history of Veterans Day, which was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress in 1926; in 1954 its name was changed from Armistice Day to Veterans Day to honor veterans from all wars.

“We remember some unforgettable words: `We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal’ . That noble idea was so contradictory to the British crown. From that we learned two things,” he said. “One, freedom is not free. Two, nations demand little from a great many and a great deal from a select few.”

Starry said that today 230,000 troops are actively deployed.

The names of Georgetown veterans who lost their lives in the Vietnam War were then read aloud including that of Joseph Lauinger (CAS ’67), the namesake of Lauinger Library.

Afterward, ROTC cadets lowered the flag from the Copley Lawn flagpole and ceremoniously folded it as Taps was played aloud.

Sergeant First Class Robert Frye, assistant professor of military science, said, “I think it’s important that we do something like this. Georgetown has put out a lot of cadets over the years.” With respect to the ROTC cadets who observed the event, assistant professor of military science Khoi Nguyen said, “It’s important that we value the sacrifice these cadets are making to this school. They’re going above and beyond and it’s not often recognized by their peers.”

Starry served two tours of duty in Vietnam after graduating from West Point in 1948. His successful leadership in college eventually earned him a post on the U.S. Readiness Command, which is known today as Central Command. His military awards include a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and a Flying Cross.

The Hoya Battalion is a coalition of six Washington area colleges and universities that come together to form one ROTC unit. The cadets hail from American University, Catholic University, George Washington University, the University of Maryland, Marymount University and Georgetown. Georgetown makes up over a third of the battalion with 36 cadets.

The Georgetown Department of Military Science and the Hoya ROTC has jointly hosted the event since 1996.

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