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By COLLEEN MCCARTHY
Mississippi State University students, faculty and staff honored service men and women yesterday during the Veterans Day celebrations.
The university held a number of events throughout the last few days to give thanks to members of the armed forces. On Friday afternoon, MSU held a formal ceremony on the Drill Field.
â€śTodayâ€™s ceremony is to honor all our veterans from World War I on through the War on Terror. Weâ€™ll have students, faculty and staff out here on the Drill to honor those men and women,â€ť Ken McRae, Director of the Center for Americanâ€™s Veterans said.
University President Mark Keenum gave a keynote speech during the ceremony and spoke to the crowd about the respect and gratitude he had for their service for the nation. The universityâ€™s ROTC cadets and several retired military personnel were on hand for the celebration.
â€śFor the community, this helps people understand what this day is really all about. Itâ€™s not just a day off and a day that the banks arenâ€™t open; itâ€™s a day to remember where we come from as a nation, from the Revolutionary War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and across the world, and to pay tribute to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice,â€ť Master Sgt. Richard Wiley said.
Wiley is a 16-year veteran and the senior military instructor for MSUâ€™s ROTC program.
â€śThis is a good opportunity to show these cadets that this isnâ€™t just a regular day, to show them that we do care. When they do get commissioned, they will have an understanding of what Veterans Day really is,â€ť Wiley said.
Wreaths were also placed at each of the campusâ€™ war memorials â€” the Veterans Memorial Rose Garden, the Vietnam Memorial and the World War Memorial â€” in honor of those who had lost their lives.
The university will also recognize veterans tonight during the home football game against the University of Alabama.
â€śIf you see a soldier downtown, shake his hand, look in his eyes and thank him. The nation canâ€™t thank these soldiers enough for what they do and continue to do,â€ť Wiley said.