ROTC Joint Service Run commemorates Veterans Day

Cadets from local colleges participate in run to Vietnam Veterans Memorial

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Michelle Cometa

More than 80 ROTC cadets file past the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Highland Park early Friday morning.

Reserve Officer Training Corp cadets from local colleges honored service men and women of the past at the annual Joint Service Run on Nov. 12.

ROTC units from RIT and the University of Rochester participated in the commemorative run that began at 6 a.m. at the Goergen Athletic Center, University of Rochester, River Campus Sports Complex.

Runners followed Wilson Boulevard along the Genesee River, passed Strong Memorial Hospital and concluded the run at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Highland Park.

Students from the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force ROTC units gathered at the memorial for an address by Barry Culhane, who served as a medic in the Army 1969-1971. Culhane, executive assistant to the president of RIT, was part of the local planning team that built the Rochester Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

“This is a way to honor veterans and Veterans Day,” said Peter Dierkes, one of the event organizers and a member of the University of Rochester Army ROTC unit. The senior history major, who joined the college’s ROTC unit two years ago, follows in his grandfather’s footsteps. “An event like this reminds you that you might be deployed,” he said. “It honors the past, shows we can work together, and how important unity is in a time of conflict.”