Two cadets standing vigil on Veterans Day

Photo by Yenitza Melgoza

November 07, 2022

SIU plans Veterans Day commemoration

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale will publicly commemorate Veterans Day with the annual vigil at the flagpole near the center of campus.

This year’s Nov. 11 Veterans Day event marks the 41st anniversary of the flagpole vigil, which began in 1981. The event, organized by SIU’s ROTC programs, honors SIU and Southern Illinois veterans who served their country in the U.S. armed forces.

SIU Air Force and Army ROTC programs, in partnership with SIU Veterans Services, are coordinating this year’s vigil, which begins at 6:30 a.m. at the Old Main Flagpole, just south of Woody Hall. ROTC cadets from SIU’s Air Force and Army detachments will stand a silent vigil throughout the day, changing shifts every 15 minutes, until 5 p.m. The vigil runs roughly from sunrise to sunset.

At 11 a.m., members will hold a wreath-laying ceremony at the flagpole. Paul Copeland, SIU Veterans Services coordinator, will lead the event, with an invocation by the Rev. Brian Coffey, Army National Guard veteran and pastor at Epiphany Lutheran Church, Carbondale, and proclamation by Carolin Harvey, mayor pro tempore of Carbondale.

Rachel Bartleman, SIU School of Music graduate student, will close the ceremony with the playing of “Taps.”

SIU faculty and staff who served in the military are especially welcome to attend the vigil and the ceremony, which also honors their time in uniform. For more information, contact