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ROTC sponsors Veteran's Day 24-hour flag vigil

Nov. 12, 1997

By Jamie Kmiec

Reporter for The Baylor Lariat

While the country participates in parades, moments of silence and speeches at national memorials, the Baylor Reserve Officer Training Corps is recognizing Veteran's Day by sponsoring a 24-hour flag vigil in honor of military prisoners of war (POWs) and those missing in action (MIAs). This is an annual event held by the ROTC on the day that America honors the 42 million people who have served in the U.S. military.

According to Maj. Randy Jacobs, assistant professor of aerospace studies, about 100 ROTC cadets will guard the flag pole in front of Pat Neff Hall in one-hour shifts with four students on each shift.

'The purpose of the vigil is to recognize veterans of foreign wars,' Jacobs said.

Betty Mullins, administrative assistant III for aerospace studies, said the event began 3 p.m. Monday with a walking vigil. At least two ROTC cadets walked the Bear Trail with a POW/MIA flag. The walking vigil ended 3 p.m. Tuesday. The silent flag vigil began at 4 p.m. Tuesday and will continue until 4 p.m. today with a flag retreat by the entire flag corps.

According to Brandi Rickard, a Granbury junior and public affairs officer for the Arnold Air Society, the vigil is an inspiration for many cadets.

'Taking the time to go out there gives you the time to think about them (POWs and MIAs),' Rickard said. 'Students come up and ask us what we're doing and we explain it to them.'

Another person who recognized the more than 22,000 military personnel who have been declared POW or MIA in U.S. military history was President Bill Clinton. Clinton spoke to hundreds of veterans at the Arlington National Cemetery Tuesday morning.

'In this century alone, more than 142,000 Americans were held in prison camps or interned,' Clinton said. 'Seventeen thousand died during the ordeal. The many ex-POWs here (in Arlington) today know better than anyone the precious value of freedom, because they have paid the price of losing their freedom. Let us never forget their very special sacrifice. And let us never waiver for a moment in our common efforts to make a full accounting for all our MIAs.'

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