National Roll Call salutes fallen soldiers

A clash of cymbals. The reading of names. Silence. More than 26 students, faculty and veterans gathered to remember the 6,313 soldiers who have died since 9/11 in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The event was part of a roll call sponsored at 183 schools nationwide by The Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

The group met at 6:30 a.m. and read names for more than seven hours. Readers stood solemnly on the balcony of the University Center to read the soldiers’ names. Those waiting to read stood inside, away from the sunny but cold day.

Many guests inside said serving for their country was the greatest thing they have done with their lives, but they wanted to spend the day focusing on the happiness in their lives outside the military.

“We’ve done stuff before to honor our veterans, but nothing like this,” said Maria Reverman, Veterans Services Coordinator for NKU. “This is the biggest.”
Many students stopped and listened for a few moments before leaving for classes.

Former student and veteran Army pilot Jimmy Klems sounded the cymbal after each name during the reading. NKU’s music department sponsored his playing.
“I wanted something that would resonate with people,” Klems said. “There are a lot of names. The cymbal sort of symbolizes a continuance that connects us and those we’ve lost together.”

After the names were read, a moment of silence was observed across the nation at 2 p.m.
Reverman and Dave Merriss, chairman of the Veterans Advocacy Committee, helped organize the event.
“For those who don’t have a military family, it’s a way to show our appreciation, it’s a sort of celebration,” Merriss said. “We also wanted to do something bigger this year to mark the anniversary of 9/11.”

Readers said they volunteered to read names after hearing about the roll call through email or word of mouth. Many found themselves simply honored to be a part of the event.

Chase Law student and graduate assistant in the Office of Legal Affairs Danielle Ressor heard about the event from NKU Staff Attorney Sara Kelley. Because the reader time slots were full, the women decided to share.

The Office of Legal Affairs even closed for an hour, so the whole office could participate.

“My motivation for being here is to be here for those people who can’t be,” said Army Reserve veteran and integrative studies grad student Duran Sheets.
ROTC students from University of Cincinnati also participated in the event, and said they were happy to get involved.
Reverman and Merriss are not sure what they will do to honor veterans next year, but Merriss considered this year’s event a success and hopes to make Veterans Day 2012 even more special.

“It is nice to see people put forth the effort to educate people as to why we have Veterans Day,” freshman Heather Eckerle said.