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Veterans Vigil in pictures & sounds

See pictures and hear comments from the opening ceremonies of the 16th Veterans Vigil at Texas A&M University-Commerce.http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/national/local-national-648119.mp3

The 16th Veterans Vigil at Texas A&M University-Commerce was held November 7-9, 2007.

The ketr.org website has a collection of pictures from the opening ceremonies and remarks from the keynote speaker.

Shirley Johnson is the wife of Texas Congressman and Vietnam prisoner of war Sam Johnson.

Click on the mp3 icon to hear Mrs. Johnson's comments, recorded and produced by KETR News Director Scott Harvey. Photos taken by KETR General Manager Bill Oliver except where noted.

We start the photo collection at the end of the Veterans Vigil opening ceremonies November 7, 2007. A C-135 jet assigned to the 645th Aeronautical Systems Squadron at Wright-Patterson Air Base approaches the A&M-Commerce campus. Photo courtesy of Rex Giddens.

The opening ceremony began in the Founder's Lounge of the A&M-Commerce Memorial Student Center with the presentation of colors.

Also participating, was the "Men of Note" men's choral group from A&M-Commerce, directed by Dr. William Witwer.

The President of Texas A&M University-Commerce, Dr. Keith McFarland, welcomed the audience.

Commerce Mayor Sheryl Zelhart presented a city proclamation.

A&M-Commerce students Tabitha Griffin and Amy King made a presentation on behalf of the First-Year Leadership Class.

A&M-Commerce graduate student Robyn Hollis was the recipient of the ASTP Scholarship, presented by Derryle Peace, Director of the A&M-Commerce Office of Alumni Relations.

President McFarland was presented a framed POW-MIA flag by Ted Oats (L) and Wayne "Doc" Pierce (C).

Robyn Hollis displayed the Spirit of America flag as Chuck Nash of the A&M-Commerce Social Work department recognized honored guests and veterans.

The first of two speakers was Betty Bryant of Commerce, whose father was a World War II prisoner of war.

The keynote speaker was Shirley Johnson of Plano. Her husband, Texas Congressman Sam Johnson, was a Vietnam-era prisoner of war. Mrs. Johnson is reading from the first letter her husband was allowed to send her as a POW.

The opening ceremonies moved outside, to the West Lawn in front of the student center, where a vigil memorial stood. Mrs. Johnson lighted the vigil flame. Photo courtesy of Rex Giddens.

Dr. McFarland and Robyn Hollis placed a wreath in front of the vigil flame.

The history of the POW/MIA flag was presented by Brian Weber, Major, U.S. Army Medical Specialist Corp, Texas Medical Command.

A 21 gun salute was presented by Hunt County law enforcement officers.

Buglers to the far left and far right of this picture played "Taps". The buglers, James Belcher and Chris Drews, are members of the A&M-Commerce marching band. As "Taps" finished, came the C-135 flyover.

Following the C-135 military flyover, guards were posted at the vigil memorial. The first was retired A&M-Commerce professor Dr. Wendell Edwards, who was dressed in a Revolutionary War uniform. Photo courtesy of Rex Giddens.

Concluding this presentation, is the C-135 jet leaving the A&M-Commerce campus. Photo courtesy of Rex Giddens.

Thanks to the A&M-Commerce Veterans Vigil committee for assisting KETR with this presentation along with promoting the concerts of the Commodores Navy Jazz Band and the Lackland Air Force Base Band of the West.

Gee Library at A&M-Commerce has set up a digital library honoring those who served in World War II. The website address is