Patriotic music, shouted commands, speeches and the sound of marching feet on Friday filled MU’s Francis Quadrangle as MU completed its Pass in Review ceremony.
Members of the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force ROTC programs stood at attention under the gaze of officers and Provost Latha Ramchand, this year’s reviewing official.
Lt. Col. Gary Kerr introduced Ramchand and thanked those who helped put the event together. He said from personal experience, it can be difficult to organize so many people for such a display.
Putting the event together “is no small task, especially with my own Army cadets, who can set an ambush with their eyes closed but often struggle to put their left foot down when we say left,” he said.
Kerr said the history of Pass in Review goes back to Valley Forge, when George Washington reviewed his troops.
Ramchand wished MU ROTC a happy 150th birthday and spoke about the success of the program.
“No matter where you go, no matter where your work takes you and no matter how critical those moments — how challenging those moments — when you’re miles away from home, please know that we are solidly here to support you, and we’ll be here to receive you when you return,” she said at the event.
The ceremony also recognized several ROTC members for excellence by presenting them with sabers. To conclude the ceremony, students from the Missouri Military Academy band played songs from the various military branches as the ROTC members marched off the field.
For many, the event is their last glimpse of MU.
“Of the cadets that are on the field today, many of them will become second lieutenants within a week,” Kerr said.
Following the ceremony was a ribbon-cutting for the expansion of the MU Veterans Center in Memorial Union.
Kevin Owens, vice president of the Mizzou Student Veterans Association, said the center brings veterans together and helps them access various resources, such as housing.
Veterans, alumni, MU faculty, Chancellor Alexander Cartwright, Veterans Center staff, representatives of Welcome Home, Inc. and some political representatives — including Reps. Chuck Basye and Sara Walsh — attended the Veterans Center expansion opening.
An anonymous donation made in honor of Gary Turner, a Vietnam veteran who helped open a veterans center in Springfield, funded the expansion, Cartwright said.
Turner, who was greeted by thunderous applause and a standing ovation, said it’s important for veterans to have a place where they can come and share their experiences.
Turner said that, looking around the room, he realized he was one of the only Vietnam veterans there.
“But then I realized, there’s one place that all of us have been together: the battlefield. And the battlefield can be a life-changing event,” he said.
Kyle Smith, MSVA president, said the new space is a tremendous improvement. In the previous center, they had just six available chairs and a coffeemaker. It has quadrupled in size and has “drastically increased” the number of veterans that the office is able to interact with, he said.
Attendees were invited to tour the new space, which measures about 1,700 square feet in total, according to a news release.
As veterans and alumni entered, Turner greeted each, shaking hands and smiling.
“For the veterans to know that they can go somewhere where there’s going to be other veterans is really huge, because they know they can get in there and talk about things that you may not understand, and they really don’t want to share it with other people,” he said. “But being able to go in and share it with other veterans is huge.”
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