Have pride in nation, respect for ROTC programs


Brian Bauer

Flags sit along the Quad in observance of 9/11.

By Paul deLutio, Columnist

On Sept. 11, 2001, a radical group of ideologists hijacked four planes and became directly responsible for the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans — over 400 of them emergency responders who gave the ultimate sacrifice in an attempt to save the lives of others.

These attacks inspired a generation of servicemen and women to protect our nation’s peace and tranquility and prevent the spread of violence and terror. And now in the year 2016, it seems that some have forgotten the value of believing in your nation and are ashamed of those who deem themselves patriots.

Recently, a column written by Elisa Lazzarino was published in the North Carolina State student newspaper, The Technician, staunchly disapproving one of the major pathways available for inspired young men and women who wish to serve their country: College ROTC Programs.

Lazzarino writes in her column: “The ROTC as an institution … promotes U.S. imperialism and makes NC State complicit in the failed war on terror. The empty patriotism that ROTC programs use to attract inexperienced and often financially disadvantaged recruits, when unquestioned, is a distraction from the unspeakable horrors that occur on the other side of the world.”

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks and as a member of the NROTC, it’s disturbing to see such a lack of faith from a member of the generation tasked with ensuring that acts of terror are stifled and deemed intolerable in the modern age.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

The war on terror was never promised to be a clean-cut quick victory, however, deeming it a “failure” is premature to say the least and, in this case, churlish when considering the nation’s other option in response to the attacks ― complacency.

The so-called “U.S. imperialism” included in the column shows the misinterpretation of the United States’ presence in foreign nations. Without the U.S. asserting its presence overseas, we are left with a complacency that allows irrational nations and extremist groups to be left to their own devices ― oftentimes leaving the innocent to suffer in war-torn regions, an unspeakable horror which would transpire should the U.S. decide not to intervene.

And who is to lead the interventions of the future? Someone needs to carry the torch and complete the mission that the previous generation began, and that’s where the importance of developing future military officers proves to be priceless.

ROTC programs offer college students the opportunity to become part of something larger than themselves. It enables them to carry on the traditions of those who have gone before them fighting for freedom and democracy around the world. When reflecting on the attacks that happened 15 years ago, how can one say that developing the inheritors of the war on terror detrimental to our nation in any way?

Even today, many years after the World Trade Center collapsed, it is important that our nation remains hopeful. The men and women of our armed forces, fire and police departments are committed to protecting our nation and aiding those in need in foreign lands.

And yet, what is even more important is that the youth of our nation, the last generation to have physical memories of Sept. 11, 2001, understand that terrorism will never be tolerated.

The battle is arduous and many will lose sight of what’s important, but we must remain hopeful that we are to arrive at peaceful solutions in time, while simultaneously protecting the world from terror.

Paul is a sophomore in LAS.

[email protected]