November 08, 2007

Silent vigil, ceremony to mark Veterans Day

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Carbondale Mayor Brad Cole will speak at Veterans Day ceremonies, Sunday, Nov. 11, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Cole will give the keynote address starting at 11 a.m., at the Old Main Flagpole. Admission is free.

For 24 hours preceding the ceremony, a combined operation of more than 100 cadets from SIUC's Army and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) will conduct a time-honored tradition honoring those who have served. The cadets will stand a silent vigil beginning at 10 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Old Main Flagpole in remembrance of the nation's prisoners of war and those who remain missing in action. The guard will change every 15 minutes during the 24-hour period that ends at 10 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 11.

Air Force and Army cadets will perform a 21-gun salute and provide color guard for the event.

SIUC Army ROTC Major Jeremiah A. Aeschleman said honoring veterans and remembering the sacrifices is important. An adjunct assistant professor, Aeschleman served with the U.S. Army 2nd Battalion, 123rd Field Artillery unit in Iraq. He returned in March 2006.

"Veterans are a special breed," he said. "They aren't smarter or necessarily stronger than anyone else, but they understand the concept of sacrifice and have practiced the art.

"Three hundred and sixty four days of the year there is nothing on the outside to distinguish them for the honor they hold on the inside. Veterans Day is the one day of the year when the inside comes out in the form of colored ribbons and shiny metal," Aeschleman said. "That is when the rest of the world can see the valor and glory in the little old man who lives down the street. There are so many veterans who have given of themselves and asked nothing in return. This is our chance to say thanks."