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Vigil for those of valor

Nov. 12, 2010

Makenzie Mason | Lariat Photographer
Irving sophomore Todd Johnston, Gilmer sophomore Josh DeMoss, Westlake Village, Calif. sophomore Brendan Djernes, and Houston freshman Brian Smith stand post during a Veterans Day Flag Vigil, Thursday in front of Pat Neff Hall.

By Courtney Skelly

Baylor Air Force ROTC guarded the American flag in front of Pat Neff from midnight Wednesday to midnight Thursday in honor of Veterans Day.

Ninety Air Force cadets volunteered their time during the 24-hour vigil, rotating out in 15-minute shifts.

For some of the cadets, the vigil held a personal meaning.

"My grandpa was in the Vietnam War," Indianapolis junior Katrina Cheesman, Air Force ROTC cadet, said. "He doesn't ever talk about it, but I know it affected him. I think it's not just respecting him and people like him, but it's also showing my personal pride for the military and for what I'm about to enter into. It's a reflection of the past and the future for me."

Daniel Cernero | Lariat Editor
Flags on Fountain Mall Thursday commemorate Veterans Day. There were a total of 600 flags, each representing nine soldiers lost in the war on terror.

Manchester, N.H., freshman Jennifer Jenkins, Air Force ROTC cadet, agreed, adding that the vigil was about respecting all the branches of the military.

For Fort Worth junior Evan Ross, an Air Force ROTC cadet, the flag vigil was a way to honor every veteran and fallen servicemen.

"So many people have died for the freedom of this country, and everybody that gives their life in service for our country is buried under an American flag," Ross said. "And so, the American flag is the symbol of everything this country stands for. Our opportunity to guard the flag is symbolic to us giving back to the flag."

Each cadet had to stand at full attention during the vigil and many cadets served multiple shifts to ensure the flag vigil was successful.

However, the student response was not what many would have liked to see. Many students avoided the flag vigil entirely, while others simply continued their day

as normal.

Chris Holmes, employee of the Office of General Counsel in Pat Neff, gave insight as to why the reaction was less than enthusiastic.

"I know Veterans Day is one of those things that once you've lived through the world wars, and the Vietnam War and the larger wars, one that the entire nation is involved, there is a lot more appreciation," Holmes said.

"The more recent wars, until war reaches out and touches you personally, sometimes you don't fully appreciate the sacrifices that have been made."

Holmes' 10-year-old daughter, Celia, also had strong opinions about Veterans Day.

"I think it's very honorable. It'd be kind of hard to stand very still, and to just keep standing," Celia said of the Air Force cadets.

"They're honoring, or trying to get other people to honor the flag. They're paying their respect toward all the people who have fought in the war."