SIUC hosts vigil, ceremony to mark Veterans Day - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

SIUC hosts vigil, ceremony to mark Veterans Day

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CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) -

Retired U.S. Navy Capt. Ed Phillips presented the keynote address at a Veterans Day ceremony on Sunday at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

"It's about the soldier, the sailor and their families," said Phillips. "And this time that they're not together. That's part of their life that they'll never get back. The country can't give that to them. But it can respect it, and try and make up for it in ways that are possible."

The ceremony began at 11 a.m. at the main entrance to Shryock Auditorium. The SIU Carbondale Air Force and Army Reserve Officer Training Corps held the annual joint military ceremony. Cadets also performed a 21-gun salute and provided the color guard.

And the guards have changed every 15 minutes for 24 hours. It ended at the beginning of Veterans Ceremony today at 11 a.m.

Admission was free. The ceremony honors veterans of all American wars, conflicts and military operations.

For 24 hours preceding the ceremony, a combined operation of SIU Carbondale's Army and Air Force ROTC conducted a time-honored tradition honoring those who have served. Cadets stood a silent vigil beginning at 11 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Old Main Flagpole in remembrance of the nation's prisoners of war and those who remain missing in action. The guard changed every 15 minutes during the 24-hour period that runs until Sunday's ceremony.

Phillips spent a total of 22 years of service in the military, seven years on active duty and 15 years in the Navy Reserve. His active duty assignments included leading the practical training section of the Nuclear Division of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) School; officer-in-charge of the EOD Western Pacific Detachment, and executive officer of EOD Unit 1, which was responsible for operations throughout the Pacific. Phillips was involved in diving or demolition operations in locations including Hawaii Islands, Johnson Island, Midway Island, Japan, Taiwan, Okinawa, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

While in the reserve, Phillips had five different commands and a staff position coordinating all Reserve training at the Great Lakes Naval Station near Chicago.

Phillips also spent 29 years in management with United Airlines. He came to SIU Carbondale to complete his doctorate degree in communications, and began teaching in the aviation management program in 2001. Phillips retired as an assistant professor in 2007, but is again teaching in the aviation program on a part-time basis. In addition to teaching airline management, Phillips also teaches airport transport labor relations.

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