Student Veterans Bring Unity to OSU Following Monday's Attack
Student Veterans of America | December 2, 2016
Written By: Gretchen Klingler, President of Vets 4 Vets: Student Veterans of America at The Ohio State University
Throughout the campus attack at OSU on Monday November 28th, veterans in our community were using social media to check on each other. We set up several social media posts where people could like or comment that they were safe, and it was amazing to see how close we are as a student veteran community, if someone didn't check in on one message thread, we'd quickly act using phone calls, text messages and any other means of communication available to check on each other.
After learning about the #BuckeyeStrong event at St. John Arena on Tuesday night, we reached out to our members to participate and come together after the tragic events that unfolded on campus on Monday. Early Tuesday evening, veterans started filtering into our campus veterans lounge. The veterans involved in Vets 4 Vets and those who frequent the lounge are a tight-knit group, and we all know each other pretty well. Once we were gathered, we decided to carry a flag with us that was reminiscent of the American flag, with scarlet and gray stripes and an Ohio State Block O in place for the blue field of stars. It was by far the most fitting symbol for us as veterans and as Buckeyes to be carrying to an event meant as a symbol of our solidarity as veterans with our university.
Members of the Ohio State SVA Chapter, Vets 4 Vets attended Tuesday's Buckeye Strong event.
When we arrived at St. John Arena, we were asked by the campus alumni association why we all decided to come together, and we explained that as student veterans, sometimes we are removed from the traditional student experience. By coming together as a unit and attending the event together, not only were we among peers, but we also had the opportunity to show our support to the university as a unified group.
When we entered St. John's Arena, we were greeted with red and white carnations, the official flower of the State of Ohio, and walked to the seating area together. During the event, the Marching Band began the vigil with the Navy Hymn - a tradition at The Ohio State. Following the band were remarks made by The Ohio State University President - Dr. Michael Drake, as well as the Vice President for Student Life - Dr. Javaune M. Adams-Gaston, Student Body President - Gerard Basalla and the Director of Public Safety - Monica Moll.
Dr. Drake stated at the beginning of the vigil: "Ohio State is a place where we learn together, where we celebrate together, and where we heal together when we have a trauma - a place where we celebrate diversity, a place where we celebrate thought and culture... and a place where we create knowledge and new ideas."
The event itself spoke to the resiliency of our campus community - that we support each other, are here for each other, and we will overcome this frightening event together. We want to move forward #BuckeyeStrong, and I'm glad our Vets 4 Vets community came together on Tuesdays as a unit to show our support for our collegiate home. We are proud to be veterans, proud to be Buckeyes, and proud to show our support for our university during this difficult time as we move forward. Veterans know a lot about resiliency, and it's times like these where we can be mentors to others.