Silent memorial held at OSU to commemorate 100th WWI anniversary

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Today is the 100th anniversary of America entering World War One. A war which eventually claimed 17 million lives.

A group of OSU performing artists commemorated that event with a silent memorial and March across campus.

During two stops, one at the library and the other at Wexner Center, the group sang “we are here because we are here” which epitomizes the spirit of millions of men and women who volunteered to fight in the Great War.

The group’s march drew curious looks and questions.as started at the Drake Performance Center and proceeded across campus.

“It’s kind of cool see history of 100 years kind of brought back to life, kind of memorializing the lives that were lost during the war,” said Shannon Savard, an OSU student and part of the theater production of Forbidden Zones. The play, also about the commemoration of WWI, runs at OSU’s Drake Performance and Events Center from March 29 – April 9.

The silent memorial was as much of a history lesson as a commemoration.

“We are doing this when conflict is still happening in the world and many of our military are involved in it,” said Theater Professor and coordinator Lesley Ferris.

That is something all too clear for OSU ROTC soldiers who said they support the 21 student-actors during their stop at the Thompson Library.

”Everyone who put this uniform on and raises their right hand to defend the constitution of the United States, so that hasn’t changed from WWI till today, so it is a selfless sacrifice we are all willing to make,” said OSU Army ROTC Commander, Lt. Col. James Bunyak.

‘We are here because we are here,’ was sung by soldiers marching to the battle of the Somme, where more than 50,000 UK soldiers were killed during the first day, eventually giving the battle the moniker “141 days of horror.”

More than 300 OSU students, faculty and staff fought and died during the Great War. Some of them were commemorated with a card handed out, naming them during the silent memorial.

Professor Ferris said one of the things that came out of that war was being gassed. “It is particularly horrifying two or three days ago to learn another gassing happened, and many children died in it in Syria.”

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