ROTC present color guard at Constitution Day ceremony

Honor+Guard+members+hold+the+American+and+Ohio+state+flag+outside+the+University+Library+during+the+university%E2%80%99s+Constitution+Day+ceremony

Honor Guard members hold the American and Ohio state flag outside the University Library during the university’s Constitution Day ceremony

Kathryn Monsewicz

Air Force ROTC and Army ROTC cadets presented the American and Ohio state flags Monday before spectators at the Constitution Day ceremony, held on Risman Plaza.

The color guard represents a long-standing tradition as soldiers of the United States military present the nation’s flag at parades and ceremonies.

“The color guard is a symbol of our unity as Americans,” Air Force Capt. Julie Kassner said before the ceremony began.

The honor guard, the group of soldiers carrying the flags and rifles, is composed of two cadets in the middle carrying the American flag and state flag with one cadet on either side holding rifles.

These rifles serve as symbols of the protection of the United States of America, as well as the nation’s flag. The term “color guard” refers to the red, white and blue colors of the American flag.

The crowd stood at the presentation of the color guard to put hand to heart and listen to “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the flags were raised.

“The color guard and the national anthem serve the same purpose. They remind us that the Constitution and this country have provided us with a lot of liberties and freedoms that sometimes we may take for granted,” Kenneth Burhanna, the interim dean of University Libraries said.

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, as it is formally named, commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, and recognizes all citizens of the United States.

Burhanna said the celebration reminds us of how lucky we are to be American citizens.

Burhanna began the reading of the Constitution by reciting the Preamble. Two people dressed in period costumes representing historical figures Benjamin Franklin and Betsy Ross joined cadets and other volunteers to read the articles and amendments of the Constitution.

The Bill of Rights was also read in its entirety.

In 2005, the U.S. Department of Education passed a mandate requiring all educational institutions receiving federal funding to host an educational program celebrating Constitution Day. The University Libraries provide this program every year in accordance with that law.

“The ROTC have been with us the last three years, perhaps,” Burhanna said. “It makes it a more formal, solemn occasion when they have the color guard come. Their participation is really welcome.”

Kassner also served as a reader during the ceremony, presenting the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

“This is everything America was founded on,” Kassner said. “The military serves as protectors of the Constitution.”

Kathryn Monsewicz is the military and veterans reporter. Contact her at [email protected]