11/4/2004

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Contact: Kirby M. Mullenberg, (406) 672-6605

KU ROTC units to observe Veterans Day with ceremony, lecture, vigils

LAWRENCE -- The University of Kansas will observe Veterans Day, Thursday, Nov. 11, with a 4 p.m. joint retreat ceremony at the flagpole in front of Strong Hall.

An address by a former Vietnam prisoner of war will follow in the Kansas Union's Woodruff Auditorium, and 24-hour vigils at the World War II Memorial Campanile and the KU Vietnam Memorial begin at 6 p.m.

Cadets and midshipmen from KU's ROTC units for the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force will participate in the events. Chancellor Robert Hemenway will be present for the joint retreat ceremony.

Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Barry Bridger will speak at the tribute to veterans at 4:30 p.m. in Woodruff Auditorium. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

Bridger and his co-pilot were flying over North Vietnam on Jan. 23, 1967, when their F-4 Phantom jet was shot down by enemy fire. He was listed as missing in action until 1970, when Vietnamese officials acknowledged that Bridger was a captive at a prison camp known as the Hanoi Hilton. He was released March 4, 1973.

Bridger and his wife, Sheila, live in Kansas City, Mo.

The candlelight vigils will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday and will continue through 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12. KU ROTC cadets will take turns standing guard while holding lighted candles at the two memorials.

The events are sponsored by KU's Air Force ROTC Detachment 280 Arnold Air Society Ennis C. Whitehead Squadron and KU Veteran's Services.

This fall, university officials announced that, for the first time in more than 50 years, the name of a KU student killed in World War II would be added to the dozens of names etched in the Memorial Campanile's Virginia Greenstone walls.

Second Lt. Raleigh Chase Bowlby Jr. of Marion, one semester shy of graduation from KU when he enlisted in the Army, was killed in action near Cassino, Italy, April 8, 1944.

Seven years later, when the 120-foot campanile was built as a memorial to the KU students and faculty lost in the war, Bowlby's name was not among the 276 listed. The omission was first noticed in the 1960s but not reported to the university until this summer.

Information about the Memorial Campanile is online at http://www.carillon.ku.edu.

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