Texas A&M University-Commerce continues its commitment to honoring our nation's veterans with the 33rd annual Veterans Vigil, scheduled for November 9 on the A&M-Commerce campus. The community is welcome, and local veterans and their families are encouraged to attend.
This year's event will begin with a light breakfast reception at 10 a.m. on the second floor of the Rayburn Student Center (RSC).
The opening ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. inside the RSC Conference Rooms. During the program, the Princeton High School Navy JROTC will present the colors, and the A&M-Commerce Chorale as well as members of the “Pride” Marching Band will participate.
The special guest speaker for this year's opening ceremony is Chief Master Sergeant Vance Michael Clarke, U.S. Air Force (ret.). The son of a career coast guardsman, Clarke enlisted in the Air Force on July 16, 1980, and retired on August 1, 2010.
He served as the superintendent of four supply flights and worked at air staff and major command levels. He also served as a command chief master sergeant in six different commands for nearly ten years. He served in this capacity for Air Force Recruiting Service, 7th Air Force and four wings, including the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing in Ali Al Salem, Kuwait, during his 30-year Air Force career.
Clarke received several major awards and decorations during his career, including the Legion of Merit, the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with nine oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters and the Outstanding Airman of the Year Ribbon.
U.S. Army veteran Joseph McClain, a current A&M-Commerce student and recipient of the Army Specialized Training Program Unit 4813 Memorial Scholarship, will also receive recognition at the opening ceremony.
Vigil Flame Lighting
The event will then move outside of the RSC to the Vigil Flame, which will be lighted this year by Dr. Robert Rankin, Assistant Professor of Accounting at A&M-Commerce and a U.S. Army veteran.
Attendees are then invited to return to the vigil flame for the closing ceremony beginning at 4:30 p.m., which will include a 21-gun salute from the Hunt County Veterans Honor Guard.
To further acknowledge our military veterans, there will be free lunch in the Lions Mane Cafeteria on November 10 for veterans. Veterans will also receive a 10% discount at the university bookstore from November 8 to 10.
Veterans must show a valid Military ID, DD214, Veteran's card, VFW or American Legion card to receive the free lunch or bookstore discount.