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Nov. 10, 2023

Service before self: MSU U.S. Air Force and Army ROTC honor military service for Veterans Day

Students from Michigan State University’s U.S. Air Force and Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps hosted a Veterans Day ceremony Thursday to remember and honor all of those who served in the U.S. armed forces.

About 85 Air Force and Army ROTC members in military service dress, veterans, military members, Interim President Teresa Woodruff other MSU administrators and staff attended the Veterans Day ceremony at the MSU Alumni Memorial Chapel ahead of the national holiday on Saturday, Nov. 11.

After a moment of silence, the post of colors by the Spartan Battalion’s Color Guard, singing of the national anthem, and the invocation, cadets shared the history of Veterans Day and the history behind the formation of MSU’s Army ROTC, Air Force ROTC and Spartan Marching Band.

Maj. Gen. Bryan Teff, assistant adjutant general for the Michigan Air National Guard reflected on Veterans Day and the importance of the service that thousands of military members provided and continue providing to keep our country safe during his keynote speech.

Teff commands 2,500 Airmen who are ready to execute global operations, safeguard the homeland and support communities in Michigan. He received his commission from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1989 and served in several military operations as an A-10 and MQ-9 pilot, including Operation Southern Watch, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Freedom Sentinel and Operation Inherent Resolve.

“Service, as a basic definition, is an action of helping someone other than yourself, so you’re doing something that is selfless,” he said. “They speak to selfless service in the Army and service before self in the Air Force. And I would argue that veterans, service is in their DNA.

More than 550,000 veterans live in Michigan, Teff said, and many continue to serve in different ways, like those who helped open military veteran homes, or veterans who have retired but continued to serve on honor guards or as acting chaplains at ceremonies, and those who continue service in numerous other ways.

“That message of veterans and their ability to selfless serve, service above themself, and then serve after they served, that’s the message I want to send today,” Teff said. “It’s an important piece of history that will show us that excellence that veterans bring to America on a daily basis.”

Army and Air Force ROTC members marched to the Hannah Administration Building after for the Ceremony of Retreat, where they stood in formation as the American flag flying on the flagpole was lowered and folded.

Among the cadets participating in the Veterans Day ceremony was Cadet Capt. Kacey Ristow, a third-year student with the U.S. Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Detachment 380 at MSU. She served as the cadet planner for this year’s ceremony.

As an Air Force ROTC cadet, Ristow is following in the footsteps of so many veterans, including her grandfather who also served in the Air Force. 

“Veterans Day ceremonies are one of the most meaningful tributes,” she said. “It’s an important day to honor those who are serving or already served and those who died for our freedom and our country.

By: Mark Johnson


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