Thursday, May 30th, 2013
In a jam-packed auditorium featuring generals and proud alumni, Harvard College hosted its third ROTC commissioning ceremony following recognition of the program in March 2011. Harvard University President Drew Faust, herself a veteran’s daughter, described Harvard’s ROTC program as a step toward bridging the civilian-military divide:
Two years ago, Admiral Mike Mullen, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made some striking observations in a commencement address at West Point. “Our work is appreciated,” he said to the about-to-be Army officers before him. “Of that I am certain. There isn’t a town or a city I visit,” he continued, “where people do not convey to me their great pride in what we do … But I fear they do not know us. I fear they do not comprehend the full weight of the burden we carry or the price we pay when we return from battle. This is important,” he continued, “because a people uninformed about what they are asking the military to endure is a people inevitably unable to fully grasp the scope of the responsibilities the Constitution levies upon them.”
The military now includes just one percent of the population. We are in danger of becoming what Admiral Mullen calls “a people uninformed.” That was a significant part of why I was committed to welcoming ROTC back to Harvard. As citizens, we have an obligation to understand our military and to ensure that it and its members do not stand apart from our national life. We must take responsibility for our interdependence.
The ceremony welcomed five new officers into the Navy, Air Force, and Marines. Harvard magazine reports:
Congratulations to them all!