Veterans and current active military members and their families are invited to the 40th annual Middle Tennessee State University Salute to Veterans and Armed Forces game — the longest running such event in the NCAA.
The MT Blue Raiders, currently with a 4-5 record and seeking to become bowl eligible by season’s end, will host the Charlotte 49ers, who are at 2-8, at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, in Floyd Stadium.
MT Athletics and the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center will host hundreds of veterans and military personnel and their families for the game and pregame events that are an annual tradition centered on the nation’s Veterans Day observance.
Complimentary tickets, provided by Window World, will be available. Other tickets can be purchased in advance through Ticketmaster or at the game.
Always a hit at halftime, the MTSU Band of Blue plays military-themed songs for each military branch — Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Navy and Marines — plus the new U.S. Space Force, whose theme song, “Semper Supra” (Latin for Always Above), was written by Commercial Songwriting Program adjunct faculty member Jamie Teachenor.
“Our ‘Salute’ game is the longest-running veterans salute football game in the nation, so we cherish that a lot,” said Chelsea Floyd, assistant athletic director for MT Athletics marketing and promotion.
“This year, the Tennessee National Guard has a big part in helping us with static displays for our fans to look at, (such as) having the Black Hawk (helicopter) come out.
“We’re adding even more to our halftime event with a new branch and adding a new song but honoring every aspect of the military. This year, we’re putting more focus on the dependents — spouses and children that are also a part of the sacrifice. And we’ll probably be the first football band to perform the Space Force song at halftime. Everything about the game is about honoring our veterans.”
A special addition to this year’s events will be a 60-piece art exhibit — “Vietnam: 2 Soldiers, 2 Artists, 2 Journeys Then and Now” — starting Friday, Nov. 11, in the Keathley University Center’s second-floor lobby.
Sponsored by the Daniels Center, the exhibit, which will be open Monday-Friday until the end of the semester, features the artistry of Vietnam veterans David Wright and Chuck Creasy of Gallatin, Tennessee.
To find parking for the KUC, Veterans Memorial and Floyd Stadium, visit www.mtsu.edu/parking/documents/parking-map.pdf. Parking fees may be required in some lots during the university’s 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. business hours.
A timeline of activities includes:
• 11 a.m. — A memorial service recognizing Afghanistan-era veterans will be held at the MTSU Veterans Memorial outside the Tom H. Jackson Building.
• Noon — Veterans picnic, sponsored by MT Athletics, will take place outside the Emmett and Rose Kennon Hall of Fame adjacent to Floyd Stadium.
During the picnic, I.V. Hillis Jr., of McMinnville, Tennessee, who served in the Tennessee House of Representatives from 1971 to 1995 and chaired the House Veterans Affairs Committee, will receive the Dr. Joe Nunley Award. The award celebrates the career of Nunley, an alumnus who served in the U.S. Army in World War II and returned to then-Middle Tennessee State Teachers College as a professor, historian and director of alumni affairs.
• 12:15 p.m. — Raider Walk in Walnut Grove adjacent to Peck Hall in the center of campus.
• 1 p.m. — Floyd Stadium gates open. Military static displays and Vet Village at Gate 3, featuring information and more from various organizations, will be available.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)