November 06, 2013

Vigil, ceremony to mark Veterans Day at SIU

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Paul S. Copeland, the Veterans Services coordinator at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, will present the keynote address at a Veterans Day ceremony on Monday, Nov. 11, at SIU.

The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. at the main entrance to Shryock Auditorium. The SIU Carbondale Army and Air Force 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.

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

For the 24 hours preceding the ceremony, a combined operation of more than 100 members of the university’s Army and Air Force ROTC will conduct a timeless tradition honoring those who have served. Cadets will stand a silent vigil beginning at 11 a.m., Sunday, 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 hour period that runs until Monday’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 Army and Air Force ROTC staff members and participating cadets will be available for interviews beginning at 10 a.m., Nov. 11. Contact Capt. Matthew T. Morse, assistant professor of Military Science, at 618/453-7563 or by email at for more information or to make arrangements for interviews.

Copeland became the Veterans Services coordinator in May.  He facilitates collaboration among multiple academic and service units on campus, develops relationships with external agencies and serves as the certifying official for SIU Carbondale for all veterans.

Copeland retired from the U.S. Air Force as a lieutenant colonel in July 2011, where the bulk of his career was spent working with ballistic missiles.  His final assignment as an emergency management specialist at Fort Belvoir, Va., was part of a 10-member Joint Staff Integrated Vulnerability Assessment Team that included assessing crisis response plans and capabilities at military installations around the world, and providing reports on vulnerabilities along with proposed corrective actions.

From 2006 to 2010, he was a site commander at Fort Belvoir, and as a U.S. senior diplomatic representative, he conducted Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty monitoring of missile production at Votkinsk, Russia.  His experience also includes deputy commander of the 91st Operations Group at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., and commander of the 323rd Training Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.