For the first time, Texas Tech, through the Military and Veterans Program, hosted a tailgate dedicated to the veterans and military dependents on campus.
“This is the first time we’ve had this kind of tailgate function on Veterans Day here in the fall season,” Juan Muñoz, vice provost for undergraduate education, said. “I hope as long as I’m here that this will become an annual tradition.”
According to Muñoz there were over 200 people in attendance. The event included current Marine Corps officers, retired veterans, families of service members and ROTC students.
“I’m very proud that Tech is honoring our veterans and active military today at this Kansas game,” Lawrence Schovanec, interim president, said. “There is nothing more honorable than serving the country. That’s why Texas Tech is committed in embracing our veterans by providing programs for them.”
The tailgate wasn’t the only part of the day recognizing the armed forces. There were pre-game and halftime events recognizing veterans. During halftime, all service members and their families were asked to stand up to be recognized by the audience in the Jones AT&T stadium.
“West Texas and Texas is a very patriotic state and region,” Muñoz said. “Texas Tech has a particular affinity and concern and sympathy for veterans and military dependents.”
Captain Juan Chavez, a 13 year serving marine, would agree.
“This is a very military friendly town, especially here at Texas Tech,” Chavez said. “I think it’s very veteran friendly.”
Chavez recruits students from Texas Tech to serve as officers in the Marine Corps. He has been stationed in Lubbock for two years now. The tailgate coincided with the Marine Corps 237th birthday on Saturday.
During the game, a video called “I Got Your Six” showed during halftime. Muñoz said the video was filmed here at Texas Tech using the campus community.
“In military vernacular “got your 6″ means I got your back,” Muñoz said. “So it shows all of the people at Tech that serve behind veterans and their family members to make them successful at Tech.”
As for the tailgate, Muñoz hopes it will become a Texas Tech tradition and grow each year.
“In the military language we want to occupy and then we want to overwhelm,” Muñoz said. “So the goal is eventually to occupy the entire Engineering Key all the way to Pfluger Fountain with military presence.”