CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — West Texas A&M University and the city of Canyon are set to celebrate veterans and active-duty military at a Veterans Day event on Friday that will feature a flyover from Cannon Air Force Base along with free hot dogs, Buffalo cookies and more.

Officials detailed that the event will begin at 11 a.m. on Friday at the Veterans Memorial on the WT campus and will pay tribute to and honor veterans and active-duty military ahead of Veterans Day on Saturday.

“This is a day that commands we pause, reflect, recognize and honor veterans,” said WT President Walter V. Wendler. “Military service is woven into the fabric of our nation — a noble act of selflessness and an essential part of preserving the democracy which affords us the freedoms we often take for granted.”

According to officials, Dr. Rodney S. Gonzalez, director of the Amarillo VA Healthcare System is set to speak. Gonzalez is a retired colonel from the U.S. Army and he previously served as deputy director and chief of staff at Walter Reed National Military Center in Washington, D.C.

“The importance of honoring Canyon and WT’s veterans cannot be understated, knowing that they served our country, and are now serving our city as our neighbors and our students,” said Canyon Mayor Gary Hinders. “This ceremony calls for the community and WT campus to come together and recognize the veterans who call Canyon home.”

The flyover by the 16th Special Operations Squadron of the 27th Special Operations Wing from the Cannon Air Force Base will be under the command of Capt. Austin Pearman, officials noted.

Officials added that a wreath is scheduled to be laid at the memorial which will commemorate members of the WT family who “gave their lives in military services.” Ubaldo Campa, a sophomore political major and U.S. Army reservist from Amarillo, will deliver the invocation while the Sound of West Texas Buffalo Marching Band will play a tribute to the armed forces.

Officials further detailed that WT currently serves around 600 military and veteran students, providing access to several educational benefits programs for them and their dependents.

“WT is committed to being a leader in supporting education for our veterans, ensuring their successful transition from the military to academia and beyond,” said James Thompson, WT’s military and veteran services community coordinator.

Gov. Greg Abbott, officials added, announced that WT’s Office of Military and Veterans Services recently received a gold 2023 Veteran Education Excellence Award by the Texas Veterans Commission.

The Veterans Week celebrations will also include:

  • An open house from 8 a.m.. to 10 a.m. on Wednesday in the veterans lounge in Old Main Room 323;
  • Thunder Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 on Thursday in the Harrington Academic Hall WTAMU Amarillo Center, located at 720 S. Tyler St.;
    • The event is a chance for different departments and organizations to set up a booth and provide snacks and information for Amarillo Center students.
  • Amarillo VA Health Care System’s 16th annual Welcome Home event which will include WT’s Military and Veteran Services office from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Rex Baxter Building at the Amarillo Tri-State Fairgrounds.

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