Veterans from all eras will be recognized and those from World War I will be featured Friday, Nov. 2, during MTSU‘s 37th Annual Salute to Veterans and Armed Forces celebration during several pregame activities and during the nationally televised Middle Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference USA football game at Floyd Stadium.
The MT-WKU game, which has a 7 p.m. kickoff, will air on the CBS Sports Network and the Blue Raider radio network. The Blue Raiders are 5-3 overall and 4-1 in CUSA.
Since 1982, as a part of the nation’s annual Veterans Day observance, MTSU has held events — a memorial service, veterans’ picnic, presentation of the Dr. Joe Nunley Award and a patriotic-themed halftime show — concluding with an MTSU football game that recognizes heroes who have served and are serving their country.
It marks the first time in 37 years the event will not be held on a Saturday. The public is invited to join all of the activities. Organizers noted that fans and other game attendees will need to purchase tickets in advance or at the gate if they don’t have a complimentary game ticket provided to veterans and family members.
Retired Rutherford County Deputy Mayor Jeff Davidson, who also is a retired U.S. Army Colonel, will be honored with the Nunley Award at the conclusion of the Veterans Picnic. Nunley, a World War II veteran, was a longtime MTSU Office of Admissions director.
Friday’s activities will include:
• a 3:30 p.m. Veterans Memorial Service outside the Tom H. Jackson Building.
• a 4:30 p.m. Veterans Picnic on the Kennon Sports Hall of Fame lawn.
• the 5:30 p.m. Nunley Award presentation to Davidson on the Kennon Hall of Fame lawn.
• the 7 p.m. MT-WKU game kickoff.
• a halftime salute by the MTSU Band of Blue to the nation’s five military branches. Veterans and active-duty personnel will walk across Jones Field when their branch’s theme is played.
The pregame picnic is for all veterans and active service members and their families. During the picnic, the Army Tennessee National Guard Band will perform.
All veterans, service members and their families can pick up complimentary tickets to the football game courtesy of State Farm and Pepsi. Mission BBQ and Steel Barrel Brewery will provide a free meal and beverage to each veteran and active service member and their families.
MTSU also also teaming up with the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots drive. At each gate, a Toys for Tots cart will be available for donors to drop off unwrapped new or gently used toys.
Members of an MTSU Department of Marketing business education class also will accept Toys for Tots donations Friday on the Kennon Hall of Fame lawn and in Walnut Grove; you can learn more about their “Toys for Tots and Chocolate That’s Hot” event here.
For more information about the Salute to Veterans and Armed Forces, visit goblueraiders.com.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)