November 04, 2016

Vigil, ceremony highlight Veterans Day event

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale, VFW Post 2605, and the city of Carbondale will host a joint Veterans Day ceremony on Friday, Nov. 11, at the Veterans Memorial Plaza in Carbondale.

The event begins at 11 a.m. and is open to the public. The Veterans Memorial Plaza is at the intersection of East Main and South Washington streets, just south of the town square. In the event of rain, the ceremony will move across the street to the City Pavilion. The SIU Carbondale Army and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) will perform an honor salute and presentation of our nation’s colors.

The ceremony honors veterans of all American and foreign wars, conflicts and military operations. University offices are closed, and there are no classes in observance of Veterans Day. University students, faculty and veterans are encouraged to attend.

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 Air Force and Army ROTC staff members and participating cadets will be available for interviews at the conclusion of the ceremony. Contact Major Michael J. Holt, recruiting flight commander, Detachment 205, SIU Carbondale Air Force ROTC, at 618/453-1668 or to arrange for interviews.

For the 24 hours preceding the ceremony, a combined operation of more than 100 members of the university’s Air Force and Army ROTC will conduct a timeless 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 change occurs every 15 minutes during the 24-hour period that runs until Friday’s ceremony.

Interim Chancellor Brad Colwell will provide introductory remarks and Carbondale Mayor John “Mike” Henry will present a Veterans Day proclamation. David Conrad, VFW Post 2065 commander, will recognize World War II and Korean War veterans.

Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Harvey Welch, also a former dean of students and vice chancellor of student affairs at SIU Carbondale, will present the keynote address. Welch served 20 years with the U.S. Air Force, serving in the United States, Korea and Turkey. He was a training officer, administrative officer, squadron commander, group operations officer, higher education program manager, director of Air Force civilian institutions special programs, aerospace studies professor, and training adviser to the commandant of the Turkish Air Force. Welch retired in 1975 as a lieutenant colonel. Welch spent 24 years at SIU Carbondale serving in a variety of roles, including vice chancellor for student affairs during the last half of his career at the university.

Welch, a native of Centralia, was a standout basketball player for the Salukis and a 1986 Saluki Sports Hall of Fame inductee. He was an Air Force ROTC student while at SIU, and received his commission as a second lieutenant and entered the U.S. Air Force in June 1955.

Welch is active in the community, serving as president and district governor of Rotary International, president of the Carbondale Park District board, chair of the Carbondale Police and Fire Commission, and the John A. Logan Museum board of directors. Welch was the 2006 Carbondale Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year.