John Tarleton’s dream to create an institution of higher education for students of modest means today is reality. Tarleton State University offers an affordable, quality education and boasts graduates whose accomplishments would make its founder proud.
This monthly column, by an anonymous university author, looks at the school’s progress, issues of our time, achievements and challenges through the eyes of John Tarleton — a dreamer’s point of view.
This time of year we hear a lot about veterans and their service to our country. Parades and celebrations take front and center. As Americans, it’s our duty to honor these brave men and women on Veterans Day.
As Tarleton Texans, we salute them throughout the year. Veterans have always been part of our family. From landmarks to traditions to the Texan Battalion ROTC and Corps of Cadets, we take pride in our rich military heritage and the heroes who’ve walked through our gates.
This Veterans Day weekend we will open Memorial Stadium for a preview of renovation and expansion before construction is complete. Guided tours begin at 11:30 a.m. that Saturday morning, and kickoff for the annual Military Appreciation Game — this year against Western New Mexico — is 2 p.m.
Memorial Stadium is a tribute to the 179 Tarleton faculty, staff and students who died in World War II. The game honors all that military service members and their families have done and will do for our country and community.
When work is completed next spring, the stadium will boast an improved press box, suites, entrances and ticket booths as well as enhanced concessions and premium seats with chair backs. Overall seating increases from some 7,000 to nearly 10,000, and the west side Lonn Reisman Athletic Complex will be new seating for home fans.
The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents approved $24 million for the project, and longtime Texas entrepreneur Mike A. Myers, a Tarleton Distinguished Alumnus, gave $2.4 million. Other Texan fans followed his lead, with additional donations earmarked for special features to enhance the fan experience.
Mickey Maguire will join Bud Rudder, son of Maj. Gen. James Earl Rudder, for the coin toss. Mickey and Earl Rudder are Tarleton alums and World War II veterans.
Mickey fought under Gen. George Patton, and Earl Rudder led Army Rangers up the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc in Normandy, becoming one of America’s most decorated military heroes. He served Tarleton as teacher, head football coach and athletic director before the war and later became president of Texas A&M University and chancellor of the A&M System.
Tarleton Texans will march up the hill from the life-size bronze of Earl Rudder to the fieldhouse prior to game time led by the university’s Corps of Cadets and marching band, The Sound & The Fury. It’s a reminder of Gen. Rudder’s big win in France. There’ll be lots of Texas-style hat throwing and cheering. You’re invited.
The Wainwright Rifles Drill Team — named for Gen. Mayhew Wainwright — will perform at the game, and members of the Corps of Cadets will fire a newly acquired 75mm Howitzer every time the Texans kick off and score.
Applaud the cadets in the Veterans Day Parade, sponsored by Turnbow-Higgs American Legion Post 240, and look for military displays at tailgate just west of Memorial Stadium.
2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and the start of Armistice Day, or Veterans Day. Seems only fitting that Americans go the extra mile this year.
At Tarleton we don’t need a specific day to thank all who serve. But as long as we have one, let’s do it up right.