Colorado State University ROTC honors prisoners of war

Hannah Ditzenberger

Stationed on the plaza, five Colorado State University students gathered behind a large container covered with chains. One female student, dressed in a blue Air Force uniform, marched up and down in front of the symbolic display.

ROTC member Sarah Lawson stands guard in front of the prisoners of war display. (Photo credits: Hannah Ditzenberger)
ROTC member Sarah Lawson stands guard in front of the prisoners of war display. (Photo credit: Hannah Ditzenberger)

These students, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps members, stood guard for 24 hours from 5 p.m. Sept. 18 to 5 p.m. Sept. 19, honoring United States prisoners of war.

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This has been a ROTC tradition at CSU for at least 20 years. While no U.S. soldiers are currently imprisoned overseas, the event serves as a historical reminder.

Kaleigh Hulett, who is the commander of the honor guard, said that the event is to raise awareness for the soldiers who have suffered in prisons around the world.

“Basically, it signifies the sacrifice that they gave,” Hulett said.

ROTC POW
ROTC members Daniel de la Fe, Alex Rockwell, Kaleigh Hulett, Megan Bolibol, and Casey Parks chat to visitor and history major Graham Wiley. (Photo Credit: Hannah Ditzenberger)

Daniel de la Fe, a sociology major and the public relations officer for the wing walker honor guard, relates to the symbolic nature of the event.

“It’s pretty much to honor them [the prisoners of war],” de la Fe said. “We’re guarding them.”

Alex Rockwell, a mechanical engineering student and a member of the honor guard, said that the wing walker honor guard, with 14 members, serves Northern Colorado through their color guard demonstrations. They are commonly seen at CSU sporting events, like football and volleyball games.

“We do pretty much any type of honor support,” de la Fe said. “We do anything for one person to 100,000 people.”

While their prisoners of war event does not gain much coverage, Rockwell still believes it is an important reminder to CSU about the realities soldiers face.

“I guess it’s all part of being in the honor guard,” Rockwell said. “We’re all pretty patriotic. We joined the honor guard for patriotic reasons — to  help our country — and this is part of it.”

Collegian News Reporter Hannah Ditzenberger can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter at @hannahditzy.

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