ROTC cadets pay tribute, build community

Kelly Mcgowan

Veterans and ROTC members sprinted, squatted and did other modified military exercises together as part of a tribute workout this morning at Lied Recreation Center.

Gyms nationwide participated in “WOD” (work out of the day) with Warriors, a “functional fitness tribute workout,” which aims to observe Veterans Day and to connect veterans with their community, according to the Team Red, White and Blue (Team RWB) website. Team RWB is a nonprofit organization that serves veterans and holds the event on Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

According to Team RWB organizers, Iowa State’s event was the biggest of the year.

“It’s a time to say ‘thank you for doing what you did and hopefully I can carry that torch on for the future generations,’” said Andrew Larson, senior in criminal justice and Air Force ROTC cadet.

This is a chance to recognize the stories of veterans’ deployments, struggles and successes, Larson said.

Any veterans were welcome to sign up for the event.

Aaron Peter, United States Army veteran and freshman in interdisciplinary studies, said he appreciated that the community was brought together by the workout. He said coming back into the civilian world, it can be difficult to find other veterans who “know what you’ve been through.”

“I think we as veterans like to do physical things together as opposed to talking our feelings out,” Peter said. “It’s a lot better get to know each other that way, through some kind of sweat or something like that.”

Peter said suffering through something together forms a bond that connects the veteran community.

“This is just a really easy way to get integrated and say hi to everybody and know you’re not alone,” Peter said.

The name of the workout was “Armistice,” in remembrance of the Nov. 11, 1918 truce between Germany and Allied nations which ended World War I and resulted in the declaration of Armistice Day, later renamed Veterans Day.

The workout comprised two identical circuits with a two-minute time for rest and reflection in between. The reflection represents the silence at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, according to Team RWB’s website.

Derick Mauser, senior in architecture and public affairs officer for Air Force ROTC Detachment 250, said the first circuit remembers veterans of previous wars and the second remembers current and future veterans.

The solemnity of the resting period at last year’s event reminded Larson of the feeling he got at a trip to Arlington National Cemetery, he said.

“As you get into it, you realize ‘we’re here for this reason,’” Larson said. “It’s not just to work out and be all friends with everybody else. There’s that ulterior motive of remembering those who have made either the ultimate sacrifice or made great sacrifices for the service of the country.”