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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Running to remember

Cadets run with the POW/MIA flag around Sweeney Field (Photo by Kristen Babich ’20).

St. Joe’s ROTC holds event in honor of POW/MIA

Saint Joseph’s University Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) students, or cadets, began a relay through campus that lasted 24 hours on Sept. 15 at 9 a.m.,Their mission: to keep a prisoners of war (POW) flag moving at all times through the 24 hour period in solidarity with those in our military who are considered prisoners of war, or are missing in action (MIA).

Cadet Connor Hendrixson ’19, organized the event on campus.

“I brought the idea here, [but I got] the idea from Det [detachment] 128 which is at Univeristy of Delaware, Hendrixson said. “I thought it would be a great thing to bring to St. Joe’s.”

Sept. 15 marked National POW/MIA Recognition Day, which is held on the third Friday of September. It is one of six days that the POW/MIA Flag is flown. The words “You Are Not Forgotten” are seen across the bottom of the flag.

“We wanted to keep the flag moving to basically show that we will never forget,” Hendrixson said. “We never want to stop the flag we always want to push ourselves, because if you stop the flag, then that’s when you feel that urge to quit.”

From 9 a.m. on Sept. 15 until 9 a.m. on Sept. 16 cadets of the St. Joe’s ROTC program ran throughout campus with no set path. Running alone and in groups, they could be spotted on the track surrounding Sweeney Field, along Cardinal and City Avenues and through the corridors of Mandeville Hall. The cadets stood at different points across campus to hand off the flag in a relay style and also set up tents to rest on Sweeney Field throughout the night.

Cadet runs with POW/MIA flag past Sweeney Field (Photo by Luke Malanga ’20).

“Everyone who was at the night shift, we were fighting sleep,” said Hendrixson. “A lot of people were on 24 hours with no sleep and we were just keeping it moving. We really just pulled together as a detachment. Once it started getting towards the night shift and I started getting more tired and just feeling the need to sleep, that definitely was the hard part. It was a challenge, but it was so rewarding. I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

At the conclusion of the run, the cadets met in the atrium of Michael J. Hagan Arena where Ralph Galati ’70 (USAF), director of veteran services, spoke to the group.

“In 1972, I was both for a period of time missing in action and also a prisoner of war, so yesterday’s [event] was really meaningful to me,” Galati said. “I know some of you guys ran multiple shifts in the middle of the night and you [experienced the] loneliness of a long distance run. Sometimes you might not have seen a soul for an entire shift, but that’s what it’s like in the military sometimes. You might not get the recognition, but you may have made an impact. Somewhere along the line, a parent or a student, or a civilian or somebody else may
have seen you and they’ll remember something that you did.”

Hendrixson saw the run as an eye opener as to what it feels like to fight through adversity in the military, but more importantly, he saw it as a way to show solidarity for those who were and are POW and MIA.

“It’s just a small insight [into their experiences] to sacrifice our time for those who make the ultimate sacrifice,” Hendrixson remarked. “It’s not even comparable, but anything we can do to show that sacrifice or show that we’ll never forget is something that we’ll always do no matter what.”

(Photo by Luke Malanga ’20).

Abigail Quinnan ’19 participated in the event and thinks it is very significant.

“I am not the best runner so running for several hours was no easy task,” Quinnan said. “Keeping the flag moving for 24 hours brought me an immense amount of pride. I am so proud of my fellow cadets for giving up so much time and putting themselves in such an uncomfortable state in order to remember those who gave their lives for our freedom.”

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