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Editorial | Recognizing peers, alumni who serve our nation

Published: Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 01:11

While students from George Washington University, Stanford University and other institutions of higher learning bemoaned their normal Monday schedules, Tufts students enjoyed time off yesterday to recover from midterms, catch up on their coursework and, most importantly, honor the soldiers who have served our nation on Veterans Day.

It is encouraging to see that Tufts, with its well-advertised emphasis on global citizenship, takes the time to appreciate the defenders of the United States, while many other universities commemorate this holiday to a lesser extent.

Yesterday, the Veterans Day ceremony — hosted by Tufts Advocates for ROTC — brought together Tufts students involved in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program, members of the Tufts administration, the university chaplain and, of course, veterans and alumni. All members of the Tufts community were welcomed. Students and faculty were able to attend this ceremony on the Memorial Steps due to the cancellation of Monday classes.

Tufts’ ROTC program was banned in 1969 as a result of anti-war sentiment in the wake of the Vietnam War. Consequently, Tufts students are currently associated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) chapter of ROTC. This has not deterred students’ participation in the corps, however, as around 20 Jumbos were involved in MIT’s ROTC last academic year. The Tufts administration has recently taken proactive steps to ensure that these students involved in ROTC are recognized: As of 2011, membership in the program is noted on students’ transcripts.

Tufts’ Alliance Linking Leaders in Education and the Services (ALLIES) also seeks to create civilian-military bonds and foster understanding on campus between students and members of the military, including their peers training in ROTC. In doing so, ALLIES creates a space where soldiers and students can come together for meaningful discussion.

This emphasis on honoring both ROTC cadets and members of our Armed Forces is not only laudable, but also encourages students to take the time to reflect on the importance of service members both within and outside of the Tufts community.

Groups like ALLIES and ROTC offer an accessible way for students to understand and connect with members of the military. This, coupled with Tufts’ celebration of its alumni veterans, contributes to the strong sense of community and inclusivity that is an integral part of our experience on the Hill.

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