The MTSU Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center and the Blue Raider football team will host the 39th annual Salute to Veterans and Armed Forces football game.
Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, against the visiting Florida International University Panthers in Floyd Stadium.
A ticket will be required for admission to the game; all other events are free and open to the public. For those wanting to purchase tickets, go here, call 615-898-5261 or visit the ticket office at Gate 1A on Faulkinberry Drive.
This day is filled with events — memorial service, picnic and more — and activities to honor and recognize veterans, current service members and their families. The honored guests will receive a complimentary ticket to the game. Tickets will be available at the pregame picnic outside the Kennon Hall of Fame Building starting at noon.
The 2020 Salute to Veterans and Armed Forces game was canceled because of COVID-19. Masks are required inside all MTSU buildings.
The timeline of events:
The “Remembering Our Fallen” National Memorial will be displayed on campus outside Gate 3 throughout the weekend. Remembering Our Fallen is a photographic war memorial honoring our country's military fallen from the war on terror (9/11/2001– present). The memorial will honor those from Tennessee and Florida (as MTSU hosts visiting FIU fans).
Static displays provided by the Tennessee National Guard will be scattered around Floyd Stadium for fans and visitors to tour and take pictures. Weather permitting, the Tennessee National Guard plans to land a helicopter on the MTSU practice field.
11 a.m. — Veterans Memorial Service
Start the morning at the Veterans Memorial Service outside the Tom H. Jackson Building, 628 Alma Mater Drive. Organizers will be recognizing more than 70 years of the MTSU ROTC program. The ceremony will include a moment of silence, a guest speaker, and the announcement of the recipient of the 2021 Dr. Joe Nunley Award.
A shadowbox display featuring eight former ROTC cadets — Lt. Gerald W. Davidson, Capt. Charles G. Tucker, Lt. George W. Burkheart, Lt. John E. Fuqua, Capt. Joe R. Fulghum Jr., Capt. Robert R. Boyd, Capt. Pierre E. Piche and Lt. Kenneth M. Ballard — will be on exhibit for public viewing at the Veterans Memorial. All of them left MTSU as second lieutenants and died in combat while serving their country.
Noon — Pregame Picnic
Following the memorial service, Middle Tennessee Athletics will be sponsoring a tailgate outside the Kennon Hall of Fame building for all veterans, current service personnel and their family members. There will be free food and drinks, live music by the 129th Army Band and the recipient speech by the Dr. Joe Nunley Award recipient.
The annual Joe Nunley Distinguished Veteran Award honors veterans who exemplify the “MTSU Spirit of Service” through their extraordinary character and distinguished service in the Middle Tennessee community. This award celebrates the career of the late Joe Nunley Sr., a World War II U.S. Army veteran, MTSU alumnus, professor, historian and former director of Alumni Affairs (now Alumni Relations).
12:15 p.m. — Raider Walk
Fans can head to Walnut Grove to cheer alongside the Band of Blue and Spirit Squad, as they welcome the Blue Raiders to campus.
1 p.m. — Stadium gates open to Vet Village (Gate 3)
Vet Village, which will be located inside of Gate 3 of Floyd Stadium, is an area for veterans, active service members and families to meet with vendors who might be a resource to them.
2:30 p.m. — MT vs. FIU
Before the game, fans are encouraged to bring a toy to any stadium gate for Toys 4 Tots, an annual U.S. Marines’ holiday toy drive. Thirty minutes before kickoff, there will be a special pregame celebration, welcoming everyone to the game. A special game ball delivery will be brought by the Tennessee National Guard, weather permitting. Throughout the game, alumni who have been or are currently serving in the military will be recognized; there will be recognitions of all service branches (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Navy and Marines); and one of the best Salute to Veterans and Armed Forces traditions, the halftime parade, occurs.
All current service members and veterans are encouraged to participate in the halftime parade honoring all branches of the military and featuring the Band of Blue. To participate, go to the Gate 2 tunnel near Lightning's Locker Room with five minutes left in the second quarter. Reminder announcements will be made throughout the game.