As part of the ceremony Derek Ridings, KSU’s student government senator for the Student Veterans Association, conducted a ceremonial roll call. Three veterans answered “Present!” when their names were called. And three times when Walsh’s name was called, it was answered with silence.
“This is a final tribute paid by soldiers to a fallen comrade,” Ridings explained. “Although sometimes painful to listen to, the last roll is called with conviction to tell our soldiers that all unit members will be accounted for, and none will ever be forgotten. It is just and appropriate for the university to conduct its own roll call.”
Among school officials who took part was Dr. Jerome Ratchford, vice president for student success.
“It opens our eyes that other deaths may occur,” he said. “We want to do whatever we can to support our veterans in life and death.”
KSU has tried to be proactive on veterans issues, as it is home to numerous students who are veterans of the two conflicts in question. KSU’s Veterans Resource Center links veterans, active duty military, reservists and their families to military support services and VA medical facilities.
“We’re a central hub on camput that interconnects veterans in a one-stop shop,” said Center director Frank Wills.
Meanwhile, a high-profile event honoring local veterans is slated for Thursday at the Strand Theatre in Marietta. This year’s “Hearts for Heroes” events will be the third annual such event there and will feature a variety of military-themed entertainment and speakers. Among the performers will be the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company, Marietta’s Big Chicken Chorus, KSU’s Swing Dancers and country music singer Corey Crowder. Six soldiers who were injured in the wars will be individually recognized and the keynote speaker will be Brig. Gen. Joe Jarrad, Georgia’s deputy adjutant general. There will be a VIP after-part at the Marietta home of former Gov. and Mrs. Roy Barnes.
The theme for this year’s event is “An entertaining evening of memories, music, military and more. Tickets are $30 for the Strand show and $125 per person for the VIP party. Proceeds go to support the Marietta Museum of History and its Aviation Wing. Tickets are on sale at the Strand box office and online at earlsmithstrand.org.
Residents of Georgia, and Cobb County in particular, have never been shy about displaying their patriotism and support for our military and its men and women. And we hope that will always be the case.