By Blake Dowson, Iowa State Daily
Iowa State’s ROTC cadets honored veterans on Veterans Day by hosting their first WOD for Warriors.
All veterans present at the Lied Recreation Athletic Center for the event were called to the front of the crowd and were given a round of applause.
Lt. Col. Richard Smith, professor and chairman of military science and tactics, opened the event for the crowd of nearly 300.
The WOD for Warriors was a workout that consisted of two separate groups, due to the large number of participants. Groups consisted of ROTC cadets, ISU students and veterans.
All cadets voluntarily signed up for the event, said Steven Brown, battalion commander of ROTC.
“This was not required, these are never mandatory,” Brown said. “Everyone here is here on their own time.”
The workout that participants went through consisted of two nine-minute phases of physical activity and a two-minute rest period.
“The two-minute rest in the middle is a symbol for our veterans; it’s a moment of silence for them,” Brown said.
Smith said events like WOD for Warriors are important but are a very small part of what people can do for veterans.
“There’s so much we can do; this is a very small showing,” Smith said. “I’m very excited that there are so many veterans here.”
Nick Schieffer, of Indianola, Iowa, who served four years active duty and is a graduate of Iowa State, shared the same sentiment. He added that events like WOD for Warriors helps out the ROTC cadets as well.
“This event is important,” Schieffer said. “The cadets realize that they’re not there yet. This helps them to realize the sacrifice that veterans make.”
Veterans Day always brings about a large sense of gratitude to our veterans, and Schieffer said recognition is spreading throughout the year.
“Things have definitely improved since Vietnam, when soldiers were getting spit on,” Schieffer said. “If you’re a football fan, you see camouflage jerseys almost every week. At Cyclone football games, they always have a hero of the game.”
Smith also believes that recognition of veterans has improved.
“It’s pretty amazing how often someone will buy your lunch or your coffee,” Smith said. “The Ames community is pretty awesome in that regard.”
Austin Hall, freshman in aerospace engineering and an Air Force ROTC cadet, said he believes veterans are important in the community and that he wants to be treated as a veteran when that time comes.
“[Veterans] need to be recognized and never forgotten,” Hall said. “I want to be treated simply with respect and gratitude.”
While there is more recognition toward veterans today, they still face many challenges when they return from duty. Schieffer said that assimilating is one of the toughest things.
“It’s hard for a 23-year-old kid to interact with 18- and 19-year-old kids in class,” Schieffer said. “Those kids can be immature and disrespectful. They don’t always appreciate the opportunities that are given to them.”