Speeches, donations, demonstrations to honor veterans


Submitted Photo

Students from Carl Sandburg Elementary School place meaningful items one by one during the “White Table Ceremony,” in the Booth Library for Veterans Day.

Kalyn Hayslett, Editor-in-Chief


A table found in cafeterias from military branches across the country that signifies Prisoners of War and servicemen and women who were Missing in Action will be recreated on Veterans Day.

About 27 third-graders from Carl Sandburg Elementary School will symbolically set this table during the White Table Ceremony.

Every student will have a role in the demonstration, whether it is reading about the objects or physically setting the items on the table, Ann Brownson, librarian and coordinator of the Ballenger Teachers Center in the Booth Library, said.

A presentation based on the book “America’s White Table,” written by Margot Theis Raven and illustrated by Mike Benny, begins 9:30 a.m. in the library’s North Foyer.

Starting with the small table, which represents a soldier’s lonely battle, each aspect of the table means something different.

The white table cloth shows the soldier’s pure heart, the rose in the vase is a family’s undying faith while waiting for their loved one’s return, and the candle shows the soldier’s unconquerable spirit.

The rest of the items include a ribbon, lemon and salt on a bread plate, a glass placed upside down, and a chair.

“(The ceremony) helps us remember that not all servicemen and women make it back to their homes,” Brownson said.

Brownson said she enjoys seeing how the student’s families get involved.

“A lot of kid’s parents and grandparents who have worn their uniforms if they have served in the military before, so I think that’s cool,” Brownson said.

Continuing in last year’s tradition, the students will join the annual Veterans Day Commemoration Ceremony in Old Main.

Student veteran Paul Higgerson and Eastern President David Glassman will give a speech.

The Military Student Assistance Center plans the ceremony every year, partnering up with the ROTC Panther Battalion and the music department.

Jordan McLaren, VA work study for the Military Student Resource Center, said every year, they try to keep it interesting by bringing new speakers in.

“We normally have a different speaker, taps player and singer,” McLaren said. “We try to rotate it out so it’s different every year.”

The ROTC members will post the colors, which are from the American, Military branches and State’s flags and place them on stands. Then, the members will take the flags from the stand and participate in a “3-volley salute,” which is the firing of three canons.

Brownson said the students being able to hear from veterans and meet ROTC members helped them understand the meaning of Veterans Day last year, which is something they hope will happen again.

“They were very excited, impressed and thankful. I think it meant a great deal to the kids,” she said.

Students and faculty can also donate blood at a drive hosted by the Red Cross from 1 to 5 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center.

“It’s the second time the Red Cross has reached out to us. It’s just a nice thing to do on Veterans Day along with the ceremony,” McLaren said.


Kalyn Hayslett can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].