November 07, 2011

Silent vigil, ceremony to mark Veterans Day

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Retired U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bobby Pruett will present the keynote address at a Veterans Day ceremony on Friday, Nov. 11, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. at the main entrance to Shryock Auditorium.  The SIU Carbondale Air Force and Army Officer Reserve Training Corps hold the annual joint military ceremony.

Admission is free. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will move to Student Center Ballroom B. 

University offices are closed, and there are no classes Friday in observance of Veterans Day.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to cover the event, including the 24-hour silent vigil that precedes the ceremony.  SIU Carbondale U.S. Army and Air Force ROTC staff members and participating ROTC cadets will be available for interviews beginning at 10 a.m., Nov. 11. Contact Illinois Army National Guard Capt. Jonathan A. Cape at 618/453-7563 or by email at for more information or to make arrangements for interviews.

Pruett, 70, who lives in Alto Pass, served in a variety of assignments during his 30-year career in the U.S. Army, including three tours of duty in Vietnam.  After initially spending eight years as a combat engineer and two years as an infantryman, Pruett served 20 years as part of the U.S. Army Special Forces.

Pruett’s duty assignments during his military career include Vietnam, Germany, Thailand, Fort Campbell, Ky., Fort Hood, Texas, and the Army ROTC at SIU Carbondale.  Pruett is involved with local veterans charities and Disabled American Veterans.

The ceremony honors veterans of all American wars, conflicts and military operations.

For 24 hours preceding the ceremony, a combined operation of SIU Carbondale’s Army and Air Force ROTC will conduct a time-honored tradition honoring those who have served.  Cadets will stand a silent vigil beginning at 11 a.m., Thursday, 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 changes every 15 minutes during the 24-hour period that runs until Friday’s ceremony. 

Cadets will also perform a 21-gun salute and provide color guard at the ceremony.

For more information on the observance, contact Illinois Army National Guard Capt. Jonathan Cape at 618/453-7563 or by email at