Barry McNamara  |   Published October 28, 2022

Veterans Day Events

College will pay tribute to its ties to Vice Adm. James Stockdale ’46 through screening of Naval Academy POW documentary on Nov. 9, campus ceremony on Nov. 11.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – The screening of a new documentary produced by the United States Naval Academy will be part of Monmouth College’s observance of Veterans Day.

In addition to showing the film P.O.W.: Passing on Wisdom at 7 p.m. Nov. 9 in Dahl Chapel and Auditorium, the College will also hold a Veterans Day ceremony at 4 p.m. Nov. 11 in the Veterans Memorial Great Room on the main level of the College’s Center for Science and Business.

The screening of P.O.W.: Passing on Wisdom is in conjunction with the U.S. Naval Academy’s Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership and Monmouth College’s James and Sybil Stockdale Fellows program, a prestigious scholarship, leadership, service and enrichment program on campus.

THE STOCKDALES: Vice Adm. James Stockdale '46 and his wife, Sybil Stockdale, circa 1996. THE STOCKDALES: Vice Adm. James Stockdale '46 and his wife, Sybil Stockdale, circa 1996.The program is named for Vice Adm. James Stockdale and his wife, Sybil. Known as an inspiring and courageous leader, Stockdale was a member of the Monmouth College Class of 1946 and a graduate of the United States Naval Academy.

“We were contacted by the Naval Academy about screening the film, due to our Stockdale connection,” said Marnie Steach Dugan ’95, who oversees the College’s Stockdale Fellows program as part of her duties as director of the Wackerle Center for Careers, Leadership and Fellowships. “That’s how the initial involvement happened, and then we further developed the event through conversations between the Naval Academy and the College.”

P.O.W.: Passing on Wisdom was produced to celebrate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the homecoming of the U.S. military personnel who were Vietnam prisoners of war. The film tells the stories of the men that experienced isolation and torture yet endured through their immense courage and patriotism. Their stories are shared through multiple interviews, news footage and oral history.

A Navy pilot, Stockdale was shot down in 1965 over North Vietnam and was held captive nearly eight years as the most senior naval officer in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” prison. He left the service as its most highly decorated member, having earned 26 personal combat decorations, one of which was the Medal of Honor. Stockdale wrote seven books, including a highly acclaimed memoir co-written with Sybil titled In Love and War: The Story of a Family’s Ordeal and Sacrifice During the Vietnam Years.

Stockdale was released as a prisoner of war on Feb. 12, 1973, during Operation Homecoming, which was the return of 591 POWs held by North Vietnam following the Paris Peace Accords that ended U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

Stockdale, who served as president of the Naval War College and The Citadel, was later a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, where he wrote and lectured on ancient Stoicism, which he credited for providing him strength as a POW. He was also a candidate for vice president of the United States in the 1992 presidential election on Ross Perot’s independent ticket.

The mission of the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership, which was established in 1998 and renamed in 2006 to honor Stockdale, is to empower leaders to make courageous ethical decisions. Its priority audience is at the Naval Academy, yet the center has a broader vision to be a “beacon to the nation,” exporting lessons to influential leaders.

Veterans Day ceremony

Monmouth’s Stockdale Fellows will also host the College’s official Veterans Day event, which Dugan said will be the first such ceremony on campus since 2019, just months before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

NOV. 11 EVENT: Monmouth President Clarence Wyatt will be the featured speaker at the College'...NOV. 11 EVENT: Monmouth President Clarence Wyatt will be the featured speaker at the College's Veterans Day ceremony, the first on campus since 2019. Monmouth President Clarence Wyatt, who is a scholar on the Vietnam War, will be the featured speaker. Wyatt will pay special tribute to Vice Adm. Stockdale in his remarks.

In addition to Stockdale, three other Medal of Honor recipients attended Monmouth – Stockdale’s cousin, Bobby Dunlap ’42, as well as George Palmer from the Class of 1861 and James Duncan from the Class of 1866.

Grace Simpson ’23 of Metamora, Illinois, who is the student leader of the Stockdale Fellows, will emcee the event. Two other Stockdale Fellows, Addison Cox ’23 of Morton, Illinois, and Ally Clay ’23 of Jacksonville, Illinois, will deliver the invocation and introduce President Wyatt, respectively.

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