The Collegian
Thursday, May 06, 2021

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ROTC visits nursing homes, honors veterans

The University of Richmond's Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) is honoring Veterans Day by visiting veterans in a local nursing home and presenting the colors at the School of Law's Veterans Day Ceremony and at the first basketball game against The Citadel, which is also military appreciation night.

Sophomore ROTC cadet Colin Billings said he had a new appreciation for veterans and what they had done and realized the serious commitment he had made to serve in the armed forces after graduation.

"Last year, I don't remember participating in any events," Billings said. "I have a different perspective this year because we've been so involved.

"It really puts things into perspective, especially wearing the uniform on campus and realizing that to them [students] now I am a part of the group they are focusing on this week."

Billings said he had made the decision to apply to be in Richmond's ROTC program during his junior year of high school.

Billings said visiting the program was a deciding factor in his decision to attend Richmond.

The ROTC battalion Richmond belongs to consists of six schools including Longwood University, Randolph-Macon College, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Union University, Richmond and Hampden-Sydney College and is composed of more than 100 students across the six schools, including 35 at Richmond.

Longwood and Randolph-Macon each have one cadet who has served on active duty and has joined ROTC as part of the Green to Gold program, which allows enlisted soldiers to receive ROTC scholarships to attend college and enter officer's training programs.

Though Billings said he had kept in touch with a few of the recent ROTC graduates of Richmond, many are still in the training phase of their military careers.

Billings said he had developed close relationships with service members who served as instructors and who command the Spiders battalion. Richmond currently has 10 active duty military members who serve on the cadre, the group of instructors for Richmond's Battalion, and organize training events, act as advisers and provide counseling services to the cadets.

Although students will not have the day off, the law school will host a commemoration ceremony from 4 p.m.-5 p.m. on Nov. 11, which will feature a speech from by Major General Robert B. Newman Jr., who ensures combat readiness and the training of more than 8,200 Virginia Army and Air National Guard staff.

The Spider basketball team's home opener against The Citadel will also commemorate the day and will offer discounted tickets to veterans and active duty personnel.

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Billings said it was important to remember that the celebration of veterans did not have to be limited to one day and that people should take any opportunity they get to acknowledge veterans.

"Military appreciation is not a one-day event because no matter who you are or what you're doing there is always a U.S. service member doing something to ensure we're protected here at home," he said.

According to the United States Department of Veteran's Affairs, Veterans Day, originally known as Armistice Day, became a nationally observed holiday on May 13, 1938 as a commemoration of world peace and for honoring World War I veterans.

The act designated Nov. 11 as the commemoration date because it marked the cessation of World War I. The day was amended to include all veterans in June of 1954.

Contact Collegian reporter Sarah Bowers at sarah.bowers@richmond.edu

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