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Citadel News Service
18 Feb 2006

Former POW in Vietnam to speak at Massing of the Colors ceremony

The General Westmoreland Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars and The Citadel will conduct the 9th annual Massing of the Colors ceremony at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 19 in The Citadel's Summerall Chapel.

Retired Air Force Col. Quincy Collins, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, will deliver the keynote address.

On Sept. 2, 1965, Collins, Citadel Class of 1953, was on a mission to destroy a bridge 80 miles southwest of Hanoi when he was shot down. Collins ejected but suffered head and back injuries, along with a severe leg injury, which left his femur broken in three places. Collins was captured and during much of his eight years in captivity, he was held in the infamous Hanoi Hilton. Collins, who now lives in Charlotte, was released in February 1973.

The Massing of the Colors ceremony pledges faith in the colors of the United States. It begins with a procession of flags some 40 people long. The patriotic service is dedicated to men and women who gave their lives to preserve liberty and honor in the United States and to those who have served and continue to serve to ensure freedom.

The first Massing of the Colors ceremony was conducted in 1922 on Armistice Day at the Church of the Heavenly Rest in New York City. Initiated by the Society of the Massing of the Colors, MOWW took over the direction of the ceremony in 1950.

The Massing of the Colors ceremony at The Citadel is free and open to the public. Guests should be seated inside Summerall Chapel by 2:45 p.m.
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