Veterans Day events will take place throughout Arkansas
Ceremonies will be held across Arkansas today for Veterans Day, including activities at MacArthur Park in Little Rock, a replica Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Cabot and a songwriter’s retreat in Jonesboro.
At the State Veterans Day Ceremony at the MacArthur Military History Museum in Arkansas, students from Little Rock Central High School who worked on their Veterans History Project will collect stories veterans. The goal is to preserve and make accessible the personal testimonies of these veterans so that future generations can hear directly from real veterans and better understand the realities of war.
The governor’s chief of staff, Alison Williams, will speak at the state’s Veterans Day ceremony at 10 a.m. Williams, the daughter of a veteran, worked for the Transportation Security Administration, where she was based in Stuttgart, Germany, as the agency’s representative for US Africa Command.
Select staff from the Regional Veterans Affairs Office will be available after the ceremony to answer questions about the PACT Act and file claims. PACT is a new law that extends VA health care and benefits to veterans exposed to hearthstones, Agent Orange and other toxic substances. PACT stands for Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics.
Organizers have set up other booths for veterans attending the ceremony.
The North Little Rock High School choirs are scheduled to perform.
The National Veterans Day Ceremony will take place on the historic parade ground behind the museum and is open to the public.
The ceremony is also available via Facebook live-steam by visiting the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ADVAVets/.
In case of bad weather, the ceremony will move to the second floor of the museum. Places are limited on the second floor.
The MacArthur Museum of Military History in Arkansas is located at 503 E. 9th St. in Little Rock.
In Cabot, Criswell-Robinson American Legion Post #71 will hold its annual Veterans Day Ceremony at 11 a.m. at Mount Carmel Baptist Church, 163 Mount Carmel Road, Cabot. It’s open to the public.
This year, the main attraction is the “The Healing Wall” exhibition. “The Healing Wall” is a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall that stands in Washington D.C.
Col. (Retired) Mike Ross, an Iraq War veteran and founder of Veterans Villages of America, will be the guest speaker, along with representation from Cabot High School Junior ROTC.
American Legion Commander Jim Troiola will also speak.
On Veterans Day 1996, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund unveiled the replica Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. The replica — which is 375 feet in length and 7.5 feet tall at its highest point — is a traveling exhibition that goes all over the country. Visitors can experience the wall rising above them as they walk to the top, a key element of the current wall design in the nation’s capital. Like the original memorial, “The Healing Wall” is erected in the shape of a chevron and visitors can make rubbings of the names of individual service members.
The replica wall is constructed of avonite, a synthetic granite, with 140 numbered panels supported by an aluminum frame.
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock will honor veterans and military families from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on its campus at 2801 S. University Ave.
UALR Chancellor Christina Drale will deliver the keynote address before the national anthem is played. The Military Student Success Center will be providing vouchers (while supplies last) for a food truck festival to military and veteran attendees.
In Jonesboro, a special program will provide a creative outlet for veterans. Two entities – The Dyess Colony: Johnny Cash Boyhood Home and Southern Tenant Farmers Museum – will host a veteran songwriting retreat tonight and Saturday in conjunction with Freedom Sings.
Songwriters who will be on hand to work with military veterans include Erin Enderlin, Wood Newton, Don Tucker, Gregg Shively and Paul Tull. This is a free opportunity for veterans to participate in an artistic activity.
Interested veterans can contact Penny Toombs, director of the Boyhood Home and Tenant Farmers Museum sites, at [email protected] Places are limited and by reservation only. A waiting list will be available when capacity is reached, Toombs said.
Live songwriter performances begin at 7 p.m. today and 7 p.m. Saturday at the Native Brew Works, 515 S. Gee St., Jonesboro. Events are free and open to the public.