Veterans Honored at Kent State University Veterans Commemoration Event

With military flanking the Kiva building entryway and flags lining the Risman Plaza lawn, the community gathered in the Kiva auditorium for Kent State University’s annual Veteran’s Day Commemoration on Nov. 8, 2018.

The event, which began at 11:11 a.m. in honor of Veteran’s Day month and date, featured Kent State’s ROTC members with the presentation of the colors, and Momentum student acapella group singing the national anthem as the audience stood at attention.

Renee Romine, director for training and organizational development, introduced the event. Ms. Romine is a veteran herself, previously serving in the U.S. Army.

Kent State President Beverly J. Warren speaks during the university’s annual Veterans Day observance in the Kent Student Center Kiva.Lamar R. Hylton, Ph.D., dean of students, introduced President Beverly J. Warren, saying she is small in stature but mighty in her efforts to welcome veterans to Kent State. This was President Warren’s last veteran’s day celebration with the university since she will retire on July 1, 2019.

President Warren spoke about “all who have served, are currently serving and those that will serve.”

President Warren referenced the ROTC students in the room with a stamp of approval, saying “our country is in good hands.”

“When we welcome all, we are all better for it,” said President Warren. “It is one of the most special events of which I have the privilege to attend as a part of this community.”

“It always touches me in ways that I can’t even define, but I think part of it is the presentation of the colors in such an inspiring and sacred ceremony,” said President Warren. “It is one that simply fills me with pride and gratitude for all the men and women of our armed forces, and what they have and continue to do to sacrifice in serving others.”

“We come to honor that highest form of service, that service where one is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect our country and our way of life. I am struck by that evidence of a community that has individuals willing to shed their blood and sacrifice their life, for those of us who can benefit from living in this country, and may we all think about our service and our commitment as we go forward.”

President Warren thanked the current and former ROTC students of the university for their services.

“Today, we continue to recognize you for that service that means so much, and it means so much as you go on to be citizens of this world and great exemplars of Kent State University,” she said.

Kent State employs more than 200 veterans and about 800 veterans and service members span across the university’s eight campuses.

“Kent State has been named a military friendly school for nine consecutive years,” President Warren continued. “We look to what we can do to continue to welcome those who have served with open arms and grateful hearts.”

Guest speaker Maj. Russell Galeti Jr., a Kent State 2005 graduate who has served more than 20 years in the Ohio Army National Guard, speaks during the annual Veterans Day observance in the Kent Student Center Kiva.President Warren introduced Maj. Russell P. Galeti Jr., ’05, a decorated combat veteran and Kent State alumnus who has over 20 years of service in the Ohio Army National Guard and currently serves as the Operations Officer for the 2nd Squadron, 107th Cavalry.

“He is truly an inspiring example of what it means to serve in our armed forces, and as a member of the Kent State class of 2005. And currently as a member of our national alumni board,” said President Warren.

Maj. Galeti spoke about the welcoming home of our veterans and alumni.

“This ceremony is proof, that the Kent State University community recognizes and appreciates our service,” said Maj. Galeti. “For those of us who serve, today’s ceremony connects us across generations.”

Maj. Galeti said he feels indebted because of the appreciation he has received from his country.

 “It will take me a lifetime of military, civic and community service to possibly live up to the high degree of trust, confidence and esteem that the American people and the people of Ohio confer upon us who have worn the uniform,” said Maj. Galeti.

Maj. Galeti outlined three promises a community should observe when welcoming home veterans for their service – an assurance of belonging, an invitation to dialogue not monologue, and a prelude to reintegration.

“Welcome home should not just be a platitude,” said Maj. Galeti.

“At our heart, we are not a nation of warriors,” says Maj. Galeti. “We are a nation of citizens in a policy, free men and women raised in a democratic republic.”

Maj. Galeti received support from the university upon his return home. From the financial aid of ROTC to his Dunbar Hall classmates, he is grateful for the university’s welcome home. “Today, I am immeasurably both a better officer and a better citizen for the lessons I learned and the friends I have made here at Kent State University,” says Maj. Galeti.

For more information about Kent State University’s ROTC programs, go to: https://www.kent.edu/academics/rotc

For more information about the Veterans Day Commemoration go to: https://www.kent.edu/veteransday

POSTED: Thursday, November 15, 2018 - 10:51am
UPDATED: Friday, January 11, 2019 - 4:21pm
WRITTEN BY:
Audra Gormley