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Student Groups Should Respect Vigil

On my way to class this past Wednesday morning, November 4, I was very humbled to see the POW/MIA vigil occurring in Lobby 10. Stopping to take a moment to watch one of the ROTC members march, I felt a great sense of pride that a school with as much hustle and bustle as MIT was able to take a day to stop and remember those who bravely fight for the freedom we enjoy here at MIT and in the United States.

However, later on in the afternoon, I was appalled to discover that the student groups that occupy Lobby 10 on a daily basis had set up booths and were vocally advertising their organizations in what should have been a very quiet and reverent setting. I can only imagine how ignorant and disrespectful one must be to blatantly disrupt such a vigil. With all the intellectual power that MIT students possess, I stopped to wonder where on Earth they learned their sense of patriotism and pride.

The lack of patriotism I saw from student groups and bystanders in Lobby 10 caused me to wonder just how much MIT students appreciate what the members of the armed forces represented in the vigil have done for America. The POW/MIA vigil is no less symbolic than the sentinels that continuously guard the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, and it should have been treated with an equal amount of respect. So to those of you who chose to set up your booths in Lobby 10 on Wednesday: shame on you. Shame on you for being so asinine and ignorant as to not realize what the vigil represented.

Veterans, POWs, and those that are missing in action have fought and are currently fighting for our right to be here at MIT, yet many students failed to show them the respect they so admirably deserve. It is my hope that the ROTC program will again hold this ceremony, as it was a great reminder to me of the blessing that I have to live in America. Furthermore, I hope the next time an opportunity such as the POW/MIA vigil presents itself the students of this great institute will take a moment to contemplate what such a ceremony means and give it the respect and reverence it deserves.

Zeke Willett ’12