Air Force ROTC cadets begin annual vigil to honor POW-MIAs Thursday

Air Force ROTC cadets begin annual vigil to honor POW-MIAs Thursday

An annual 24-hour vigil will be held at the University of St. Thomas to honor Veterans Day and Americans who are, or were, prisoners of war or missing in action.

The vigil is a 20-year tradition for the university and its Air Force ROTC Detachment 410. This year’s vigil begins with an opening ceremony at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, near the flagpole in the center of the quadrangle on St. Thomas’ St. Paul campus.

For the next 24 hours, ROTC cadets will silently march past the flagpole in remembrance of those who have served and those who never came home. Veterans Day this year falls on Saturday, Nov. 11.

St. Thomas has had an Air Force ROTC detachment since 1948, the year after the Air Force was created.

Planned in conjunction with the vigil is a talk by retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Joe Repya, a veteran of Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also has worked as a military analyst and freelance journalist in Iraq. He and his wife, Debra, founded the Minnesota Support Our Troops Coalition.

Repya will speak at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9 (following the opening ceremony) in Room 126 (auditorium), John R. Roach Center for the Liberal Arts, located just southeast of the flagpole.

The talk, free and open to all, is sponsored by the Arnold Air Society.