Veterans and current military personnel will be the main focus of the 36th Salute to Veterans and Armed Services Saturday, Nov. 4, at Middle Tennessee State University.
The day will be all about recognizing veterans and current military personnel for their service to our country.
Since 1982, MTSU's Salute to Armed Services events have paid tribute to the men and women who serve or who have served in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.
The Blue Raiders want fans to join them in one of the nation's longest-running veterans' celebrations.
All activities will take place on the MTSU campus, and will lead up to the 6:30 p.m. kickoff for the Conference USA football game between the Blue Raiders (3-5 overall) and the University of Texas-El Paso (0-8) in Floyd Stadium.
Game tickets provided by State Farm are complimentary for veterans and their families, and will be available during the picnic.
To find parking, the stadium, the MTSU Memorial site and other buildings, a searchable campus parking map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap.
The timeline of Salute to Armed Services events is as follows:
- 2:30 p.m. --Veterans' Memorial Service, Tom H. Jackson Building.
- 4 p.m. --Pregame Picnic, Kennon Hall of Fame lawn.
- 4:15 p.m. -- Special salute atRaider Walkin Walnut Grove near Peck Hall.
- 5 p.m. --Veterans Villageopens, on lawn next to Alumni Memorial Gym.
- 5 p.m. --Dr. Joe Nunley Awardpresentation, Kennon Hall of Fame lawn.
- 6:30 p.m. -- Kickoff for MTSU-UTEP game.
- Halftime -- Salute parade featuring MTSUBand of Blue.
During the memorial service, former MTSU student, the late James Van Howard, will be recognized. He died while serving in Vietnam in the 1968. His mother, Grand Ole Opry performer Jan Howard, will attend the tribute.
The Nunley award, formerly presented to a World War II veteran who also made his or her mark in life after serving their country, now is given "to a veteran known for service to others in the Middle Tennessee community," said MTSU alumnus John Furgess (Class of 1965) of Nashville, who helped found the event with Nunley.
This year, it will be presented to John Hood of Murfreesboro. He is an MTSU alumnus (Classes of 1954 and '74) and served in the U.S. Army from 1954-56. Hood is director of governmental and community affairs in University Advancement at MTSU.
Furgess discussed the history behind the event and the Nunley award in a brief video at https://youtu.be/InKwYJsSq3s.
The 129th Army band will perform near the picnic site.
The Salute to Armed Services event also features an annual Marines Toys for Tots drive.
Collection barrels for new and unwrapped toys will be placed at each end of Floyd Stadium and at club level. People also can place donations in Marine ammunition cans with a slot; the Marines are not permitted to accept money from donors by hand.
Earlier Saturday, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee will have lunch with 16 general officers who graduated from MTSU.
Other activities will be a part of the game festivities.