Annual ROTC vigil in honor of Veterans Day, POW-MIAs starts here Monday

Annual ROTC vigil in honor of Veterans Day, POW-MIAs starts here Monday

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 has been a tradition for more than 20 years for the university, its Air Force ROTC Detachment 410, and the campus chapter of Arnold Air Society, a professional and service organization.

This year’s vigil begins with an opening ceremony at 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12, near the flagpole in the center of the quadrangle on the main St. Paul campus. For the next 24 hours, ROTC cadets will slowly and silently march past the flagpole in remembrance of those who have served and those who never came home.

Veterans Day this year falls on Sunday, 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 Mary Danielson-Gates, the widow of Major Benjamin Franklin Danielson, a pilot in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. Danielson was shot down by enemy ground fire over Laos and was missing in action for 37 years. The search and rescue mission to recover Danielson and his navigator was among the largest in history. Mary Danielson-Gates will discuss her late husband’s life, and what it means to be in the family of a soldier who is missing in action.

Danielson-Gates will speak at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12 (following the opening ceremony) in Room 126 of the John R. Roach Center for the Liberal Arts. The center is located just southeast of the flagpole.

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