Army, Navy and Air Force groups conduct honorary ceremony despite small protest
By MATT BRAMANTI
Students from the Army, Navy and Air Force ROTC units at Notre Dame conducted their annual Pass in Review Wednesday afternoon in Loftus Sports Center.
Over 300 cadets and midshipmen paraded in formation before University President Father Edward Malloy.
Speaking to the cadets and over 100 spectators, Malloy talked about war, peace and the role of ROTC students in the U.S. military.
He called on the future officers to serve as examples of Christian leadership in the armed forces.
"We have tried to prepare you well here … to be able to think about the big picture," Malloy said. "Peace does not come easily in a world that knows too much violence."
He also offered a prayer for the students, who will be commissioned as officers upon graduation.
"We pray that the leadership you provide in the military might contribute to the common good," Malloy said.
Malloy discussed the successful service of recent ROTC graduates and recognized Dustin Ferrell, a 2000 graduate serving in the Marine Corps, who was wounded in Iraq when his unit was ambushed by Iraqi forces.
Ferrell was awarded the Purple Heart, the nation's oldest military decoration.
At the Pass in Review, the cadets assembled in ranks in full dress uniforms by the branch of the military they were a part of.
An honor guard led the parade, followed by the units' leaders who carried the American flag, Notre Dame flag and flags of the military branches and the ROTC battalions. The ROTC students then saluted Malloy as they marched past him.
The Great Lakes Navy Band played the military branches' respective marches and finished the ceremony by playing the Notre Dame Victory March, as the cadets retreated in formation.
Cadets said they appreciate the opportunity the review provides to show off their military professionalism to their civilian superiors.
"It's the culmination of a great semester and an honor to have Father Malloy here," said Air Force cadet Mary Ann Mazzarini.
"It's a celebration of the accomplishments everyone's done throughout the year," Army cadet Brooks Hartnett said.
Father Peter Rocca, one of the ROTC chaplains who attended the event, praised the cadets' work as "recommitment to serving their country in the best way possible."
Nine members of Pax Christi protested the Pass in Review. Mike Griffin, Moreau seminarian and a member of Pax Christi and the Catholic Peace Fellowship, criticized the presence of ROTC at Notre Dame.
"The question at Notre Dame is who's in charge of the ROTC — the Church or the Pentagon?" Griffin said. "At a Catholic school, the church, not the Pentagon, ought to be in charge of what students learn."
Sheila Payne, a Pax Christi member, also explained the group's presence at the review.
"Pacifism is not passive," she said. "We don't believe nothing should be done, we just believe war should not be done."
Tom Feeney, president of Pax Christi, called for an end to the ROTC program at Notre Dame.
"We feel that ROTC doesn't have a place on this campus," he said, adding, "We're incremental about these things."
Army Master Sgt. Scott Shippy responded to Pax Christi's statements, saying, "If that's their belief and their opinion, they're entitled to that. No serviceman wants to see war, but if it comes to that everyone should be behind the troops. They should be praying for the servicemen."
All News Stories for Thursday, April 17, 2003