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IWU to celebrate Veterans Day

By Clay Winowiecki - cwinowiecki@chronicle-tribune.com

Indiana Wesleyan University will host a Veterans Day Celebration on Friday, Nov. 9.

The university will honor those who have served or are currently serving in the US military with a special day dedicated to veterans. The day includes breakfast, a featured speaker, military experience simulation, exhibits and much more. The event will take place at the IWU residential campus in Marion and is sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

“This is a day for all of us to remember that freedom is not free,” said Dot Clark-Ott, Air Force veteran and faculty development director for the School of Nursing. “Veterans have sacrificed, and some have paid the ultimate price for the rights that we, as Americans, enjoy. Veterans Day is our chance to honor them and to say, ‘Thank you.’”

The event kicks off with a breakfast from 7:30-9 a.m. in the Banquet Rooms of the Student Center. This year the event features a curator from the Museum of the Soldier in Portland who will speak on the importance of preserving veterans' history.

From noon to 4 p.m. there will be activities in the Barnes Student Center Commons.

For those looking to get a taste of military life, the IWU ROTC is hosting a military experience simulation to allow attendees to sample MRE meals and to see if they can carry fully loaded rucksacks.

Captain Lance Mayberry of the IWU ROTC said it is important to honor veterans.

“We moved from a time frame in our history when vets were not necessarily supported by the population,” Mayberry said. “(For example, it’s important to) show the Vietnam vets that are still alive we’re trying to right the wrong that we did.”

There will also be numerous exhibits featured. "Footlocker Stories" is a new, interactive exhibit featuring GI momentos. The exhibit has been created by Ball State student Andrew Thieme and enables participants to handle momentos from Hoosier veterans.

There is also an IWU veteran wall, to allow attendees to write the names of those they know who have served or are currently serving in the military.

Another exhibit commemorates the centennial anniversary of the end of WWI. This exhibit showcases artifacts from the Museum of the Soldier.

Those who attend can write notes of support to those deployed or send donation boxes.

The donation boxes are a new feature this year. Encouraged items are drink mixes, ramen noodle packets, nuts and beef jerky. The boxes and notes of support will be delivered to service members.

All events are open to the public, but reservations are needed for breakfast. Reservations can be made by visiting www.indwes.edu/events/veterans-day-celebration.