Hodges University’s American Legion Post to host annual Veterans Day ceremony

Hodges University’s American Legion Post 397, the first Post established on a college campus in the United States run entirely by student veterans, will host their sixth annual Veterans Day celebration on Monday, November 11, beginning at 11:00 am at the Pavilion on the Hodges Naples campus, 2655 Northbrooke Drive. The event will be simulcast for Hodges students at the Ft. Myers campus.

The ceremony will pay tribute to all veterans and acknowledge the many sacrifices and accomplishments put forth which have enabled our country to remain strong and vigilant. Palmetto Ridge High School Junior ROTC, under the command of Cadet Katie Larson, will provide the color guard for the event, followed by a speech by guest speaker, Captain Wayne Smith, US Air Force (Ret.).

A Vietnam P.O.W. Smith was a fighter pilot and flew 90 missions over North Vietnam and Laos before being shot down in January, 1968. He once sat in a cell near Senator John McCain in the infamous Plantation prison outside Hanoi, infamously known as the Hanoi Hilton, and was imprisoned for five years before being released. His honors for service in combat include the Legion of Merit, two Silver Stars, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Bronze Stars, seven Air Medals and the Purple Heart.

During the ceremony, a flag, originally flown above the U.S. Capitol, will be presented to Naples resident Bob Moates. As a WWII veteran, Bob served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in Guam and Saipan in 1945. Sergeant Moates was with the Air Transport Command and was transferred to Japan in early 1946. Moates has been dutifully serving on organizational boards throughout Collier County, auctioneering at fundraisers and gives his time and talents to Naples residents for almost 45 years.

The public is encouraged to attend the ceremony. For more information, phone (239) 938-7833.

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