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Students from SDSU's ROTC programs participated in a 2019 Veterans Day tribute at the SDSU War Memorial. Students from SDSU's ROTC programs participated in a 2019 Veterans Day tribute at the SDSU War Memorial.

Guide to Veterans Day Events

An annual tribute at the War Memorial is scheduled for Friday.
By SDSU News Team

San Diego State University will mark Veterans Day 2021 with a wreath-laying ceremony to honor alumni who died in service to their country, and a special event at the USS Midway Museum with Marine veterans of the War in Afghanistan.

Here is some additional information on each program:

USS Midway Museum

“Third Squad: Marine Veterans and the American Experience in Afghanistan” is scheduled for 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11, aboard the USS Midway Museum at San Diego’s downtown Embarcadero.

The event will focus on the War in Afghanistan with two U.S. Marines who fought there, John Bohlinger and Manuel Mendoza, and an Iraq veteran and journalist who was embedded with them, Elliott Woods. The discussion will be moderated by SDSU military history professor Gregory Daddis.

In July 2011, Bohlinger and Mendoza met Woods at Patrol Base Fires in Sangin, Afghanistan, during one of the most violent phases of the 20-year war. Ten years later, Woods reconnected with Bohlinger, Mendoza, and the rest of their squad to record interviews about their experience following their homecoming. Their candid interviews are part of Woods’ 12-part podcast, “Third Squad.”

The program is free and open to the public.

War Memorial

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the War Memorial wreath-laying ceremony which takes place each year during Homecoming Week to honor SDSU veteran alumni who have died in service to their country during the nation’s military conflicts.

This year’s ceremony is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 12 (the day after Veterans Day) at the base of the monument on Aztec Green, west of the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union.

U.S. Marine Corps veteran and California State University Board of Trustees member Jack McGrory (’76) will deliver the keynote address. McGrory is chair of the SDSU Veterans Council, chair of the School of Public Affairs Council, past chair of The Campanile Foundation Board, former San Diego city manager, and a longtime supporter of student veterans and military-connected students. The Jack McGrory Bunker, a popular gathering space for student veterans in SDSU’s Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center, is named in his honor.

Featured speakers at the ceremony include SDSU President Adela de la Torre, SDSU Alumni Board of Advisors President Charlotte Ochiqui (’00), and SDSU Student Veteran Organization (SVO) President Aidan Daley. In addition to the traditional laying of wreaths, the ceremony includes a reading by SVO members of the names listed on the War Memorial. Music will be provided by Marine Band San Diego.

Dedicated Nov. 23, 1996, the War Memorial was originally intended to serve as a monument to Aztecs who died in service during World War II, Korea and Vietnam, but has been expanded to accommodate service members from more recent conflicts. Currently, there are 239 names etched on the face of the granite obelisk.

The Nov. 12 event will be preceded by a coffee social scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. The wreath-laying ceremony will be followed by a reception sponsored by the SDSU Military and Veterans Program at the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union adjacent to the War Memorial.

The ceremony is open to all SDSU alumni, faculty, staff, students and members of the San Diego community. For more information and to RSVP, please visit