November 07, 2012

Vigil, ceremony to mark Veterans Day

by Joaquin Norman

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Retired U.S. Navy Capt. Ed Phillips will present the keynote address at a Veterans Day ceremony on Sunday, 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 Reserve Officer Training Corps hold the annual joint military ceremony.  Cadets will also perform a 21-gun salute and provide color guard.

Admission is free.  In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will move inside Shryock Auditorium.          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., 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 changes every 15 minutes during the 24-hour period that runs until Sunday’s ceremony. 

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 Lt. Col. Melanie Friedman, commander of the University’s Air Force ROTC at 618/453/2481 or by email at for more information or to make arrangements for interviews.

Phillips spent a total of 22 years of service in the military -- seven years on active duty and 15 years in the Navy Reserve.  His active duty assignments included leading the practical training section of the Nuclear Division of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) School; officer-in-charge of the EOD Western Pacific Detachment, and executive officer of EOD Unit 1, which was responsible for operations throughout the Pacific.  Phillips was involved in diving or demolition operations in locations including Hawaii Islands, Johnson Island, Midway Island, Japan, Taiwan, Okinawa, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

While in the reserve, Phillips had five different commands and a staff position coordinating all Reserve training at the Great Lakes Naval Station near Chicago. 

Phillips also spent 29 years in management with United Airlines.  He came to SIU Carbondale to complete his doctorate degree in communications, and began teaching in the aviation management program in 2001.  Phillips retired as an assistant professor in 2007, but is again teaching in the aviation program on a part-time basis.  In addition to teaching airline management, Phillips also teaches airport transport labor relations.