Letters to the editor

Military recruiters should always have a place on KSU campus

Dear Editor:

My daughter brought home the Sept. 7, 2006, issue of the Daily Kent Stater, and I was dismayed and saddened as I read the editorial “Hey military, get out of Kent State” by Mr. Chris Kok. I thought we had all learned something since the Vietnam-era protests – reading Mr. Kok’s editorial, maybe not.

To be up front, I am a veteran, recently retired, after a career which spanned 30 years with service in both the regular and reserve components of the U.S. Army. During that time, I served in Vietnam in 1966 to 1967, the Gulf in 1991 and Kosovo in 2004 to 2005. Though it took me longer than 10 years, the GI Bill was instrumental in my getting started and eventually obtaining my bachelor’s in political science.

Mr. Kok wants to remove the “dark and menacing presence” of the military from his campus. He states he is sick of the military and the fact that the military is “forced” upon his university.

This “dark and menacing presence” is a group of soldiers, many of them his neighbors, like myself, who have committed themselves to protecting those freedoms which we all, including Mr. Kok, enjoy. Those who serve don’t get to pick the wars that are thrust upon them; however, when called they step up, drop their daily lives, leave their families, put the uniform on and then go forward to do the best they can under some very difficult circumstances. Many pay an additional price in the wounds that they suffer or the ultimate price, their lives.

I am sorry that Mr. Kok is sick of the military on his campus. But, it is those soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, some recruited on campuses, who are what stands between this nation’s freedoms and the dark ages and a world dominated by al-Qaida and their like.

These soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines serve the people and the government that contribute some of the funds that Kent State, like many other universities, uses to operate. It seems to me, if a university chooses to accept the support of the people and the government of the United States, then it is not too much to ask to allow the protectors of that same people and government the opportunity of recruiting from the individuals attending that university. Remember, ultimately, it is an individual’s decision to join the military.

This brings me back to my opening remark. Mr. Kok is apparently fed up with the ongoing war in Iraq. So be it, he and I see this differently. But, I thought we learned many years ago in Vietnam that even if you despise the policies that led to war, you should not despise those citizens who are serving in that war. It saddens me that some, like Mr. Kok, have not been able to make that distinction.

Robert E. Williams II

Akron, Ohio