Midlands area sports events will pay tribute to veterans

11/16/2012 12:00 AM

11/16/2012 12:04 AM

Veterans Day commemorations, which have become a two-week event in military-friendly Columbia, continue Saturday with service members being honored at both the USC-Wofford football and the Colonial Cup steeplechase in Camden.

USC will host about 1,000 members from all five branches of service – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard – on the field at halftime. They will be joining the USC Marching Band, “the Mighty Sound of the Southeast.”

The service members will come from Fort Jackson in Columbia, Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, McEntire Joint National Guard Base in Eastover, Coast Guard Base Charleston, Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and the USC ROTC program, which includes the Navy.

“We love doing this day,” said Josh Waters, director of marketing for USC athletics. “It’s a way for us to show our support for those who protected us and those who continue to protect us.

Several service members and vets will be honored at half time, including members of the 133rd Military Police Co. The unit suffered three dead and five severely wounded in a June suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan.

Also, S.C. Air National Guard F-16 jets from McEntire will conduct a flyover before the game.

In Camden, the 43rd running of the Colonial Cup will have a distinctive bent toward military families.

Organizers are making 3,000 tickets and 500 in-field parking passes available to any active duty service member or veteran. The tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Tickets for the active duty members can be obtained on base while veterans can pick them up at the race’s Camden offices. For more information call (800) 780-8117.

“A military family can come park their car in the infield and enjoy all day,” said the races assistant director Teri Leigh Teed.

The organizers also have a special event before the race. At 11:15, Fort Jackson officials will swear in 90 new soldiers into the U.S. Army. Retired military skydivers will open the event.

“We wanted to do something to honor the sacrifices of our troops,” Teed said.

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