Warrior Circle marks a new USC tradition for veterans and the Trojan community

USC News

August 29, 2017

By Joanna Clay

Some 100 people stood quietly in concentric circles in McCarthy Quad.

The Rev. Jim Burklo sang a song and lit sage. Then Nathan Graeser led a ceremony in which Burklo walked around with a bowl of ash and rubbed two markings on the forehead of dozens of men and women.

“The first stripe is for the visible and physical wounds of battle,” Graeser said to the group. “The second is for the invisible sacrifices and wounds of battle — the missed birthdays, anniversaries … and the moral and psychological injuries.”

Friday’s inaugural Warrior Circle was a spiritual manifestation of the transition all military veterans make, said Graeser, an army veteran, military chaplain and doctoral candidate at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. He organized the event with help from Burklo, the university’s associate dean of religious life.

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