COVID-19 creates memorable commissioning ceremony

COVID-19 creates memorable commissioning ceremony

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A-State’s ROTC program held a unique pinning ceremony for their senior cadets Friday due to COVID-19.

The ROTC senior commissioning ceremony at A-State is something senior cadets look forward to throughout their college career.

Like many seniors, newly commissioned 2nd Lieutenant Edward Finley didn’t expect the coronavirus pandemic to come into play during his pinning ceremony.

“Our commencement got pushed back and I was kind of disappointed and was just wondering what our commission ceremony was going to be, I thought it was just going to be a little bit of paperwork and a little message that said ‘congratulations’,” said Finley.

Thanks to the ROTC Program leaders at A-State, the nine newly commissioned seniors still got the ceremony they had worked so hard for.

“We wanted to make sure that they had the opportunity to receive the recognition of all of their effort that’s built up to this moment,” said Major Joseph Loar, Professor of Military Science at A-State.

Each cadet had an individual ceremony, and everything was approved through the Army, and each ceremony was streamed on Facebook live, with only eight family members present.

“I’ve seen the senior’s commission four years, three years in a row and I always thought okay I wonder how mine’s going to go, I wonder how it’s going to be different for me, I wonder who’s going to be there for my first salute,” said Finley. “It feels like it was people there just for me. Instead of looking out and seeing a large crowd, I see familiar faces and family that I just love.”

The ceremony is a big step for each newly commissioned officer.

“For the cadets, it often feels like the end of a journey but it’s really the beginning of what could be a full career with the military or just a stepping stone into essentially their adult life,” said Loar.

So taking time to do individual ceremonies for each cadet is something Finley said makes it even more special.

“It felt a lot more personal honestly, it’s different every year a little bit but this one it felt special everyone was really close,” said Finley. “I’m really glad they went through the trouble to make all of this happen and to deal with everything and make sure everyone’s safe and give us all the honor that we’ve been looking forward to.”

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