17th Annual Veterans Vigil Set Nov. 6-8

COMMERCE, Texas — The Veterans Vigil has become an important event on the Texas A&M University-Commerce campus with the 17th annual observance set Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 6-8.

The 2008 activities will recognize and honor the United States Coast Guard.

“The Vigil is a chance to pay homage and respect to my brothers I fought beside in Iraq, those who weren’t able to make it back, and those who stand true today since I can no longer hold the line,” said student chair Jim Batchelor.

Activities are planned by a committee composed of A&M-Commerce faculty, staff and students, local citizens, and area veterans. “We have an amazing committee, which is driven only by their zeal to serve,” A&M-Commerce staff member and committee chair Connie Mears said. “Some members on this committee have been active participants for over 15 years. It is truly an amazing group.”

The event will begin at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, at the Founder’s Lounge of the Sam Rayburn Memorial Student Center.

At 11:30 a.m., Major Mike Spaight will begin the ceremony by presenting the colors. Texas A&M University-Commerce President Dan Jones and Commerce Mayor Quay Throgmorton will both speak.

Navy Rear Admiral James Lair will be the keynote speaker in the Founder’s Lounge.

Following the ceremony, a procession will begin to the site of the Vigil Flame, where the flame will be lit and guarded in honor of Prisoners of War and Missing in Action.

On Friday, A&M-Commerce will hold a program for Commerce and Cooper public school students that includes talks from local veterans on their military experiences and proper flag etiquette. The students will also visit the Vigil site.

The Vigil will culminate Saturday, Nov. 8. A procession will leave the East Lawn of the Student Center at 1:30 p.m. and arrive at Memorial stadium for a pre-game ceremony.

During the ceremony, there will be a military fly-over, a 21-gun salute, and a playing of Taps, and then the Vigil Flame will be extinguished.

After the ceremony, A&M-Commerce will kick off against Southwestern Oklahoma at 2 p.m.

An important aspect of the Veterans Vigil is the posting of the guard at the site of the Vigil Flame. These guards take turns standing at the flame in one-hour shifts, from the ignition of the flame on Thursday until it is extinguished Saturday.

Those interested in volunteering for one or more shifts can call 903-886-5816 or email [email protected]