By PAUL SIMS
A number of events are lined up for this year’s Veterans Day Awareness Week in Starkville and on the Mississippi State University campus, including at least one new feature.
The effort gets started with the Wednesday luncheon for Korean War veterans on the MSU campus, continuing “the tradition of recognizing our war veterans,” said Andrew Rendon, the director of the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Center for America’s Veterans. So far, 21 veterans have responded to invitations to the luncheon.
Then, several community and MSU events are scheduled on Veterans Day which is Thursday. This includes one at Starkville High School at 9 a.m., another at 10 a.m. at the high school at Starkville Academy, an 11 a.m. ceremony at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 5573, a 2:45 p.m. wreath ceremony at the MSU Veterans Memorial Rose Garden and the 3:30 p.m. Veterans Day Ceremony on the MSU Drill Field.
Rendon pointed out that that the MSU Veterans Day ceremony is sponsored by the president’s office for the second year in a row.
A critical aspect of the criteria for a veteran-friendly campus is backing from leadership, he said. “It’s a reflection of the awesome support we get from leadership,” Rendon said.
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, the VA Mobile Medical Clinic will be on hand at the Colvard Student Union. “That’s reaching out to all veterans,” not just students who have served in the nation’s military, Rendon said.
On Friday, the Air Force ROTC will hold a POW/MIA vigil on the MSU Drill Field.
The MSU Student Veteran Association has “really stepped up to the plate” in their part in The Telling Project, which will run Friday through Sunday, a new event this year, Rendon said.
The world premiere of “Telling, Starkville, MS” – a play written from the experiences of and performed by five Mississippi veterans will take place in the Bettersworth Auditorium in Lee Hall at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday.
“I personally think it will have the biggest impact of all the events we’re doing,” Rendon said of what he described as a “student-run, student-driven” effort.
Those involved are Marcus Bobby Boykin, who served in the U.S. Army in Iraq; Michael Campbell, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division; Lewis Howard, an Army National Guard soldier who will deploy to Afghanistan next year; Christopher Keane, who served in the U.S. Army in Iraq and Lamarris Williams, who served in the United States Marine Corps in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Other events which will take place after the conclusion of the week, which runs from Wednesday to Sunday, include Navy Week, led by Dr. John Lamberth, Nov. 15-19; the Nov. 19 Pat Tillman Reception Dinner where Pat Tillman scholars will be honored and a tailgate event for MSU military veteran alumni and students on Nov. 20.
Also on Nov. 20, the fourth annual Veterans Discovery Day will take place. David Blair, veterans outreach coordinator for the center, says the event was started to show veterans what MSU is all about and introduce them to the university.
For information on the events or if a Korean War veteran would like to attend the luncheon and has not received an invitation, call the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Center for America’s Veterans at 325-6719.