U.S. Air Force ROTC’s Annual 24-Hour Vigil for Veterans Day Starts at 5 p.m. Sunday

A 24-hour vigil will begin late Sunday afternoon, Nov. 10, at the University of St. Thomas to honor Veterans Day and soldiers who are, or were, prisoners of war or missing in action.

The 27th annual vigil has been a tradition since 1987 for the university, its U.S. Air Force ROTC Detachment 410, and the campus chapter of Arnold Air Society, a national professional and service organization.

This year’s vigil begins with an opening ceremony at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, near the flagpole in the center of the main quadrangle on St. Thomas’ St. Paul campus. The ceremony includes the raising of U.S. and POW-MIA flags, and performances by Detachment 410’s Cadet Choir and Black Knights Rifle Drill Team.

For the next 24 hours, ROTC cadets will slowly and silently march past the flagpole in remembrance of those who have served or are serving, and those who will never come home.

A closing ceremony will be held at 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 11, which is Veterans Day. The flags will be lowered and remarks will be given by Lt. Col. Charles Musselman, professor of aerospace studies and commander of the ROTC detachment at St. Thomas; Dr. Susan Alexander, executive adviser to the president of St. Thomas; and ROTC cadet Shelby Cooper, a junior at the university.

Immediately following the ceremony, William Guenon Jr. will speak in the first-floor auditorium, Room 126, of the John R. Roach Center for the Liberal Arts, which is located just south of the quadrangle's flag pole.

Guenon is author of Secret and Dangerous, Night of the Son Tay POW Raid. He will discuss his experiences as the lead U.S. Air Force Air Commando pilot during the Son Tay raid, and the impact the mission had for U.S. POWs in Vietnam.

All are welcome to the vigil and related events.

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

The vigil is sponsored by the St. Thomas-based Richard E. Fleming Squadron of the Arnold Air Society and St. Thomas’ Aerospace Studies Department.