OU recognizes student veterans, soldiers

This September marks the ten-year memorial of the terrorist attacks that occurred on 9/11. The Oakland University Chapter of the Student Veterans of America has planned an event to pay homage to all of those who lost their lives on that momentous day.

The OU 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony and Military Recognition Event marks the first of its kind and will take place on Sept. 7, 2011 from 12 p.m.-3:30 p.m. in P2, the small lot between the Oakland Center and Wilson Hall.

A decade after the attacks, Americans are still feeling the effects. With U.S. soldiers fighting two wars across seas, many hope the bravery of those serving our country is recognized. With that hope, OU plans to honor men and women of the U.S. armed forces.

Robert Rietze, OU’s Veteran Liaison and the director of the event, claims that the 9/11 terrorist attack is what pushed him and several of his friends to enlist.

“The attacks made me feel fearful and angry, but they also gave me a feeling of duty and responsibility towards my family,” Rietze said.

The event is not only an opportunity to remember those who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks, but also an opportunity to acknowledge those who have fought or currently fight for respective branches of the United States military.

Emilia Allen, multicultural affairs director at Oakland University Student Congress, along with the rest of OUSC, will be present at the event. Allen, whose boyfriend is currently fighting in Iraq, hopes to raise awareness of the ongoing armed conflict overseas.

“It is everyone’s job to support those who are deployed,” Allen said.

Many soldiers choose to attend college following their time in the service. OU has helped meet that need for many veterans and developed a reputation as a veteran friendly university. Rietze said that there are about three hundred veterans currently enrolled at OU, and they maintain an active student organization. Many of these veterans will gather for the commemoration.

All in attendance will have a chance to view the Traveling Vietnam Wall Memorial, which honors the lives lost in a war that has often gone overlooked in the vast history of American wars.

Members of the National Guard will also be present with a rock wall and 20 yard inflatable obstacle course for visitors to enjoy and challenge themselves. The Marine Corps Hummer will be present as a prop of patriotism. Additionally, the event will be complemented with free food, including pizza, popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones. WXOU will be on hand, keeping the event upbeat with free live music as well.

Rietze urges all student organizations to get involved in the event and make a show of support, even student groups that are unrelated to the day’s theme. Tables are available to any organization that hopes to recruit members. He suggests that this event can bring people from all across campus together to honor our country and those who have died in the name patriotism.

For more information regarding veterans at OU, visit oakland.edu/veterans