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.
“Today’s ceremony is to honor all our veterans from World War I on through the War on Terror. We’ll have students, faculty and staff out here on the Drill to honor those men and women,” Ken McRae, Director of the Center for American’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 university’s ROTC cadets and several retired military personnel were on hand for the celebration.
“For the community, this helps people understand what this day is really all about. It’s not just a day off and a day that the banks aren’t open; it’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,” Master Sgt. Richard Wiley said.
Wiley is a 16-year veteran and the senior military instructor for MSU’s ROTC program.
“This is a good opportunity to show these cadets that this isn’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,” Wiley said.
Wreaths were also placed at each of the campus’ war memorials — the Veterans Memorial Rose Garden, the Vietnam Memorial and the World War Memorial — 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.
“If you see a soldier downtown, shake his hand, look in his eyes and thank him. The nation can’t thank these soldiers enough for what they do and continue to do,” Wiley said.