Ohio State Veterans Appreciation Week 2017
It was a busy week for Ohio State's military and veteran community, as a multitude of events were scheduled across campus for student veterans, veteran alumni, and other military-affiliated families in the Columbus area.
The week kicked off early as the College of Dentistry offered free dental screenings and reduced cost dental procedures to student veterans who might not have dental insurance. This program was spearheaded by a partnership between College of Dentistry faculty and Veteran Community Advocate Mark Ruther.
Vets4Vets, Ohio States' affiliated chapter of Student Veterans of America then went to work planting over 2300 flags on the South Oval, representing the over 2000 military-affiliated students currently attending OSU. Throughout the day, Vets4Vets encouraged students, faculty, and staff passing by the display to plant additional flags representing veterans and servicemembers in their own lives.
Next, the annual Rock Ceremony took place on Thursday. The Rock Ceremony evolved from an early Ohio State tradition of playing Taps every week in honor of over 1,000 deceased Ohio State alumni who died in service as members of the U.S. Armed Forces. Dr. Peter Mansoor, Retired Colonel and current Chair of Military History at Ohio State served as the guest speaker for the event and addressed Ohio State's impact on war efforts throughout history. Student Veteran Community Advocate Jarod Gray then joined Professor Mansoor and Lt. Colonel Jim Bunyak, Professor of Military Science at Ohio State, in laying a wreath honoring those deceased Ohio State alumni.
Ohio State Athletics also played a huge role in the week's celebrations, honoring student veterans at the Women's Ice Hockey, Women's Basketball, and Football games. As Ohio State took on Michigan State in the Horseshoe saturday, 25 student veterans received the chance to go out on the field to meet President Drake and to be honored on the jumbotron. The students were received with a thunderous applause! Several other events occured throughout the game including the official swearing in of National Guard and ROTC cadets, special messages from active duty Ohio State fans stationed overseas, and a flag display by the Ohio National Guard at pregame.