By DYLAN SMITH, NEWS3 News Reporter
MACOMB, Illinois (NEWS3) — The pandemic has forced Western Illinois University’s Military Appreciation Week to be a virtual event.
Military Appreciation week began Saturday, Nov. 7, with a private ceremony held by WIU ROTC cadets, followed by the annual Fallen Soldiers 5k Run/Walk. Typically, this event is a large public ceremony held at Western Hall to commemorate WIU alumni who were killed in action.
Lt. Robert Baldwin and Capt. Derek Dobogai were both honored in a ceremony earlier during the week. Although the ceremony was not open to the public, participants said the event still contributed to the celebration or the university’s military.
“Not being able to do it in COVID, although it doesn’t completely take away from it, people didn’t really get to have the appreciation for it that maybe they could or should,” Lt. Joan Sommers, professor of military science, said. “Really, what I want my cadets to know is that they’re part of a program’s legacy and lineage, and we have to understand some of the history and people who came before us.”
In addition to military group discussions, a workout with the world’s fittest man, Army veteran Joe Decker, and the Fallen Soldiers 5k Run/Walk was also held virtually. Each runner completed the mileage on their own time.
Following the Battle of the Branches Bench Press competition on Wednesday, Nov. 11, the final event of this year’s Military Appreciation Week is military trivia night at Horrabin Hall Gym.
To register your team and for a complete schedule, go to wiu.edu/alumni.