ROTC prepares for traditional Military Ball

Patricia Battle

ROTC Students will have a night of celebration and honor during the annual Military Ball hosted by both Kent State and Youngstown State.

An estimate of 140 students, alumni and faculty from both universities are expected to attend this event.

“It’s a chance for us to come together, and really celebrate,” said Joe Paydock, an Army ROTC Training Officer. “A chance for the command to get together to bring families and dates together to share, a chance for the civilians to share in this organization, and some of the traditions we have.”

One of those traditions includes a series of toasts at the start of the evening.

“We’ll toast to the armed forces, we’ll toast to the army, toast to both of the schools, toast to our guests,” Paydock said.

The Military Ball this year falls on Dec. 7, the day the U.S. was invaded by Japan in World War II in an attack on Pearl Harbor. Comrades in arms who lost their lives during war will be recognized during the ball.

“We do a tribute to fallen soldiers, there’s a table setting specifically done as a reminder for the fallen that can’t join us at the event,” Paydock said. “There’s symbolic items on the table, there’s a red rose, there’s a lemon, salt and glasses inverted.”

Each item represents a message for the fallen. A rose is reminding of their families and loved ones, a lemon symbolizes their bitter fate, salt represents tears, and inverted glass is a reminder of their absent presence during traditional toasting.

For almost two months, Kent State student Alexus Kellow, a sophomore public health major, has been a helping hand with setting up the venue for the event at Youngstown.

A detail she is keen on about the Military Ball, is the larger setting.

“We take turns between Youngstown and Kent holding it, last year we had it at the Student Center in the Ballroom,” Kellow said. “For me I’ve been in there a couple of times, and it wasn’t as exciting. But then you go into the new place, and it’s like a big open venue, it has the chandeliers.”

The theme for the event is inspired by the military and winter season.

“We have black table cloths, red napkins, but then our background for the pictures is a flag, but we might swap it out with a winter theme,” Kellow said. “As it’s getting closer I’m kind of getting more excited that everything is starting to get finalized.”

Patricia Battle is the military and veterans and adult services reporter. Contact her at [email protected].