Ceremony to honor veterans at home game

By Chris Cutter

NIU will show its appreciation to veterans of the Gulf War this weekend in a ceremony, but so far there has been little enthusiasm from returning soldiers.

Veterans of the Desert Shield and Desert Storm operations will be honored Sept. 14 at the first home football game.

“According to university records, at least 55 students got called up for service in all branches of the military,” said Gary Scott, director of career planning and placement.

Invitations for the event were sent out to all known student veterans in late July and early August, and 16 people have responded, Scott said.

“I suppose it’s a nice gesture, but I doubt I’ll go,” said Mark Cox, a Marine Reserve veteran. “I’m just glad to be back and trying to concentrate on the semester.”

“No, I’m not going (to the ceremony). It’s nice to know people appreciate us and the fact we had to miss some of our education, we had to put it (education) all back,” said Kevin McGowan, a veteran with the Navy Reserves Hospital Corps, who fought with the 24th Marine Regiment.

“A lot of guys who went over there don’t feel we’re heroes. We just went over there to do our job, we had to put an interruption on our education, but we’re just average guys,” said McGowan.

“The purpose (of the event) is to express appreciation and recognize our students who had their educations interrupted when their National Guard or Reserve units were activated,” Scott said.

Prior to the 6:35 p.m. kickoff in Huskie Stadium, the servicemen will be invited to a tailgate party in the parking lot. During halftime, the honorees will be recognized for their services.

The NIU Marching Band, directed by Frank Bibb, will perform a special arrangement of “America.”

Students who served and did not receive invitations or those wishing to obtain further details may contact Scott at 753-1641, or Mary Mihelich, assistant athletic director at 753-8040.