Special Homecoming events to honor veterans

By Yvonne Condes

Arizona Daily Wildcat

As part of this year's Homecoming theme, "Wildcats Come Marching Home," special events in honor of Veteran's Day and the 50th anniversary of World War II are scheduled for today and tomorrow.

Julius Parker, retired U.S. Army major general and UA associate vice president of business affairs, will be the Grand Marshall for the Homecoming parade. Parker remains the highest ranking African-American officer in the Military Intelligence Corps in the history of the Military Intelligence Branch of the Army.

Parker said that by honoring veterans the university is sending out the message that they "regard and respects their contributions."

"Veterans have provided an atmosphere for the university to flourish" in their duties during peace and war times, he said.

A display of the Reserve Officer Training Corps memorabilia includes photos focusing on the university ROTC's contributions during the past half century. Six photographs are from the World War II era, said Major William D. Tackenberg, ROTC instructor.

"The university had a very proud role in World War II in training officers as part of the war movement," Tackenberg said.

In the 1940s, the U.S. Navy trained more than 10,000 officers and used 40 percent of the UA campus for housing and training, he said. The U.S. Army and Navy also did specialized flight training using UA facilities and the city airfield.

More than 30 photos, provided by ROTC special collections, will be displayed during the Alumni Bear Down Bash Friday. Big band music from the 1940s will be played during the bash.

Saturday the USS Arizona bell, which is now in the Student Union, will be rung to commemorate the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, said Jennifer Mahon, Homecoming coordinator.

During the Homecoming football game armed service veterans will be recognized. Local Veterans of Foreign Wars post representatives will pass out American flags to veterans of all wars, she said.

The Pride of Arizona Marching Band will perform patriotic music during halftime, including Irving Berlin's "God Bless America" and John Phillip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever."

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