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Thursday, December 16, 2004

ROTC in the Ivy League

Outstanding article in the Wall Street Journal on the effort to bring ROTC back to the Ivy Leagues, specifically Havard, Yale, Brown and Columbia. The ROTC was banned from the campuses during Vietnam as a protest of the Vietnam War. The current reason to keep them off campus is related to the school's opposition to the don't ask don't tell policy the military has that bans gays from the ranks.

To Ivy League cadets, a return has historical resonance. Among the earliest students of King's College, the name under which Columbia was founded in 1754, was Alexander Hamilton, who rose to prominence as a Revolutionary War hero and aide de-camp to George Washington.

At Yale, freshmen dorms surround a statue of Nathan Hale (class of 1773), executed by the British and credited with the parting words: "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."

Lt. Tuohey, the Army lieutenant in Baghdad who graduated from Harvard in 2001, draws inspiration from his great-uncle, a U.S. Army first lieutenant who died in France during World War II.

"I've learned more in Iraq than I learned during four years at Harvard," Lt. Tuohey says in a telephone interview. "There's no greater honor than leading men in defense of your country."

ROTC was established after World War I to provide the nation with a group of citzen soliders read to take up the defense of the nation when called. It is a shame that the most elite universities in the nation don't agree that this is a noble worthwhile cause and choose to ban the activity all together from their campuses.

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