An annual 24-hour vigil will begin late Wednesday afternoon,  Nov. 10,  at the University of St. Thomas to honor Veterans Day and Americans who are, or were, prisoners of war or missing in action.

The vigil has been an annual tradition since 1987 for the university, its Air Force ROTC Detachment 410, and the campus chapter of Arnold Air Society, a professional and service organization.

This year’s vigil begins with an opening ceremony at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 10, near the flagpole in the center of the quadrangle on St. Thomas’ St. Paul campus. For the next 24 hours, ROTC cadets will slowly and silently march past the flagpole in remembrance of those who have served and those who never came home.

An ROTC cadet marches in front of Murray-Herrick Campus Center during the ROTC Veteran's Day 24-hour slow march November 11, 2009 on the lower quad.

An ROTC cadet marches in front of Murray-Herrick Campus Center during the ROTC Veteran's Day 24-hour slow march Nov. 11, 2009 on the lower quad.

Military training at St. Thomas dates back to 1903. 

Planned in conjunction with the vigil is a talk by Jamie Goebel who will discuss his experiences as a former guard of the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. Goebel will speak following the opening ceremony at 5 p.m. in the first-floor auditorium, Room 126, in the John R. Roach Center for the Liberal Arts, which is located just south of the quadrangle’s flag pole.

Goebel grew up on a dairy farm in Freeport, Minn. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1996 and was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Regiment, “The Old Guard,” conducting funerals and other ceremonial missions around Washington, D.C. He began his training for the Tomb in November 1997 and in June 1998, was awarded the Tomb Identification Badge, No. 459. He left active duty in March 1999 while continuing to serve in the Minnesota National Guard with one deployment to Honduras in 2004. He served a total of nine years.

He lives in St. Cloud with his wife, Heidi, and their two children, Evan and Aubrey. He teaches fourth grade at STRIDE Academy in St. Cloud. He received his master of arts in education through St. Mary’s University of Minnesota in 2008, earned his K-12 principal’s license this summer, and continues to attend St. Mary’s to complete  his education specialist degree.

The talk, free and open to all, is sponsored by the Arnold Air Society.