RWU honors veterans with touching ceremony


Luke Brennan/The Hawks' Herald

A memorial wreath and carnations of remembrance in honor of fallen RWU veterans Maj. Kenneth B. Goff and Lt. Joesph D. Fortin.

As the nation recognizes Veterans Day, it must be remembered that, unlike Memorial Day, which is a somber remembrance of fallen veterans, Veterans Day is meant to be a celebration of veterans as well as those that are currently enlisted in the U.S. armed forces.

Roger Williams University held a ceremony on Nov. 10 in honor of both alumni that have served as well as Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadets attending RWU as full-time students. The ceremony was attended by ROTC cadets, their families and other RWU alumni who served. Each guest was given a program for the event and a red carnation flower.

The ceremony began at 11 a.m. with 11 tolls of the clock tower bell, as the program describes, “in honor of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 that signaled the end of World War I.” This was followed by RWU’s acapella group Hawkward singing the national anthem.

RWU Dean and Professor of Criminal Justice Eric Bronson then introduced Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Margaret Everett, who gave a short speech on what Veterans Day means to RWU, reflecting on RWU alumni that have served in the U.S. armed forces.

The keynote speaker for the ceremony was VA Benefits Advisor for Veterans Inc. Michael Rhilinger, an Air Force veteran himself.

The ceremony concluded by honoring fallen RWU veterans Major Kenneth B. Goff, who went Missing in Action (M.I.A.) in South Vietnam on Aug. 24, 1967, and Lieutenant Joseph D. Fortin, who was killed by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in Iraq on Aug. 23, 2009.

Guests were given the opportunity to pay their respects to Goff and Fortin by laying their carnation on the ground between their two grave markers adjacent to the U.S. flag just outside the Administration Building.