Kent State salutes veterans

Kent State Army and Air Force ROTC students salute the raising of the United States, Ohio and POW/MIA flags during the annual KSU Veteran’s Day observance ceremony held Wednesday, Nov. 7 at Risman Plaza. Photo by Shane Flanigan.

Chelsea Kiko

Kent State held its annual Veteran’s Day remembrance event Wednesday afternoon to honor military members and families.

This year’s ceremony, “A Salute to Service,” was a group effort of the Division of Human Resources, the Center for Adult and Veteran Services, Undergraduate Student Government and the Army and Air Force ROTC at Kent State.

Carla Wyckoff, communications manager for human resources and office of general counsel, said the committee starts planning in the fall for this event every year. Wyckoff said “A Salute to Service” has personal meaning for her.

Wyckoff’s husband has been in the National Guard for 40 years and has been deployed to Afghanistan since December 2011.

“As we speak he is hopefully on a plane headed home,” Wyckoff said. “I see first-hand the impact of service and how it impacts the family, so this year is especially significant for me because it just so happens that on this day hopefully he’s started his journey to come back home.”

Audience members gathered around Risman Plaza in the cold weather to watch the short ceremony.

Victoria Znidarsic, freshman exploratory major, said she attended the event to support the ROTC program.

“I’m doing my duty as an American citizen,” Znidarsic said.

Kasia Gibbs, sophomore fashion merchandising major, handed out American flags to audience members before the event to support veterans.

“My mom is a veteran and I have a lot of family in the military, so it’s important to me,” Gibbs said.

The program included a flag-raising ceremony conducted by a joint color guard, the singing of the national anthem and brief remarks from President Lester Lefton and Eric Mansfield.

Mansfield, executive director of media relations, discussed the importance of what each citizen can do to help veterans.

Mansfield has 20 years of military service including tours in Iraq, and said his son enlisted into the Ohio National Guard one year ago.

“When the military signs you up, your family goes along for the ride,” Mansfield said.

Mansfield’s speech centered on the importance of helping veterans in the career field and the importance of increasing job opportunities for veterans to support their families.

The program concluded by recognizing those who are active duty or veterans of the military and the families and spouses of military members.

This was the first year Mansfield spoke at Kent State’s veterans’ event.

“It was really great [to speak at the event],” Mansfield said. “The message I wanted to get across was not just that we feel good about our veterans today but that we can go out and do something by helping families that are home or deployed.”

Capt. Joel Martin, who attended the event, said he is proud the university chooses to honor veterans this way.

“It also helps us to properly honor and respect the history of this great nation, and those service members who have given so much throughout history to allow us to live the way we do today,” Martin said.

Contact Chelsea Kiko at [email protected].