CSU to honor its military history at inaugural game

Veterans plaque
This plaque honoring Rams who have served is displayed next to the flag pole at CSU's new stadium.

CSU will honor its deep connection to the U.S. Armed Forces on Saturday, celebrating Military Appreciation Day when it plays the inaugural game at the new on-campus stadium.

“What an incredible gesture for Athletics and the CSU administration to designate the first game in the new stadium as a celebration of our military,” said Maggie Walsh, assistant chief of staff and director of veteran initiatives. “Our message to veterans, active duty military, ROTC cadets and their families is resounding: We value and honor your service and experience.”

CSU has had a military presence on this campus almost from the beginning, with thousands of alumni serving at home and abroad over the past century-plus. It is also home to robust Army and Air Force ROTC programs, and has been honored as one of the nation’s premier veteran-friendly universities for its wide range of programs designed to help veterans adjust to civilian life and work toward a college degree.

Impressive military presence

Each year this proud military past is celebrated on a football Saturday. The 2017 celebration, though, should outshine all others.

Fans will be greeted upon arrival by a number of military vehicles provided by the Colorado National Guard. And 30 minutes prior to kickoff, CSU’s historic cannon – “Comatose” – will signal fans that it is time to head to their seats.

Once inside the stadium, fans will be treated to a national anthem ceremony unlike anything previously seen.

The world’s second-largest American flag will be unfurled on the field by 300 active military personnel, veterans, current ROTC students, and military family members. The enormous flag will cover the entire playing surface.

Famed alumna to sing anthem

Then, the national anthem will be sung by CSU alumna Mandy Harvey, a deaf singer who gained fame recently as contestant on America’s Got Talent. Her performance will be punctuated by a flyover by F-16 jets out of Buckley Air Force Base.

Throughout the game there will be military members and their families with CSU ties honored on the field.

Among the many guests will be Jared Lyon, president and CEO of Student Veterans of America.

“The peer-to-network and support the nearly 1,500 SVA chapters provide to student veterans is paramount to their success. Colorado State University’s Veteran Program is leading the way in both,” Lyon said. “I’m looking forward to visiting our chapter, hearing feedback from student veterans on how we can best support them, and celebrating Military Appreciation Day while attending the first football game hosted on campus in nearly 50 years.”