UH vets gather for gala Sunday to honor their own

Heather Detrixhe

Staff Writer

The University of Houston will salute Houston area veterans at the Third Annual Veterans Day Celebration Sunday.

Since 1911, Americans have celebrated Veterans Day, or Armistice Day, to honor veterans who have served in the armed forces.

In observance of this Veterans Day, UH Veteran's Services Office is hosting a catered lunch, followed by posting of the colors by UH ROTC cadets, speeches and an afternoon of games at Lynn Eusan Park (behind University Hilton Hotel).

Though the celebration is primarily for UH students, staff and faculty members who have served in the armed forces, and their families, all members of the greater Houston veterans community are welcome, said Coordinator of UH Veteran's Services Office Sean Graves.

He added that anyone with a great interest in learning about Veterans Day is welcome to attend.

The event is geared to the "recruitment and retention of UH student veterans by promoting a better awareness of Veterans Day, what it celebrates and what it means to veterans," Graves said.

Though turnout for last year's event was far less than expected (around 25 people singed in), this year's event is planned for more than 200.

Graves is optimistic about high attendance, "We have increased promotions to all campus organizations, given out handbills to students all week, and faxed notices to all Houston fire and police departments."

"We have also changed the nature of the event (from last year). It used to be a formal dinner; this year it will be an outdoor barbecue. We hope that will draw a larger crowd," Graves said.

The event is funded with money allotted to the VSO from student service fees. This year the VSO was granted an increase to $21,642 from $14, 039 by the Student Fee Advisory Committee.

Junior mechanical engineering student Carl Krueger, who served in the Marines from 1992-96, attended the event last year.

"They spent a lot of money in resources, a catered lunch in a Hilton banquet room ... half the food went uneaten," Krueger said. "They changed it this year (to an outside barbecue) to save money," he added.

Brig. Gen. McDaniels, commander of the 75th Division (Exercise) will give the keynote speech. Graves will give opening and closing remarks.

Purple Heart, an organization that helps Houston's homeless veterans, will be accepting donations of clothing, small appliances, and household items. Donations can be brought to the banquet or dropped off at the VSO before the event.

The celebration will be from 12:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m. Sunday at Lynn Eusan Park. For more information, and to sign up for athletic competitions, call UH-VSO at 743-5490.

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