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Something for everyone as ASU's Salute to Service begins Nov. 1

Celebration to feature NASCAR driver Jesse Iwuji, viral alum singer Gus Farwell and more events for all

Four saluting military members are silhouetted against a setting sun
October 28, 2022

When Salute to Service begins Nov. 1, it will boast many free events for the Arizona State University and local communities to enjoy in the name of celebrating service.

This year the community can enjoy a concert by a former Sun Devil football player who became a viral sensation at the height of the pandemic for serenating his neighbors from his balcony in Spain, a flyover by the nation’s most advanced jet fighters during the ASU football game Nov. 5, Family Weekend starting Nov. 4, and a range of activities in between. 

Themed “Salute to Service through Service,” this year’s celebration runs through Nov. 11.

“We have a lot planned and hope the ASU community and the public can join us to honor all those who have served,” said Michelle Loposky, director of development and strategic partnerships at the Pat Tillman Veterans Center. “As we have done in previous years, we are honoring both civilians and military who have selflessly given of themselves.

“We honor our first responders, medical staff, teachers, public servants, veterans, military and their families, and all others who have been there for the nation, for their communities or who served abroad.”

One of the first events will be eNASCAR at ASU presented by Coca-Cola in collaboration with the ASU Esports Association, from 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, on the corner of Forest Avenue and Sixth Street. The public can take a spin on the eNASCAR simulators and meet Jesse Iwuji, a Naval Reserve officer and Xfinity Series NASCAR driver. There will also be free giveaways, including two Nintendo Switches.

A free concert dubbed “Gridiron to ASU Gammage” takes place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, featuring “The Balconist” Gus Farwell. A former ASU quarterback turned opera singer, Farwell became an internet and news sensation after being captured on video singing from his apartment balcony in Barcelona singing for his neighbors during the pandemic lockdown in Spain.  At ASU Gammage in Tempe, Farwell will perform Broadway, opera and pop tunes accompanied by the ASU Symphony Orchestra, Gospel Choir, the Sun Devil Marching Band and other faculty performers. Farwell's performance will include a tribute to former teammate Pat Tillman. A pre-show tailgate with food trucks is scheduled from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Gammage parking lot. Note that the concert is free but tickets are required.

The Sun Devils will take on the no. 10 nationally ranked UCLA Bruins on Saturday, Nov. 5 for the Salute to Service football game. Three hours prior to the game, fun for the whole family will begin at the ASU Alumni Association's Sparky’s Touchdown Tailgate on College Avenue. The tailgate will feature military displays, live entertainment, food, drinks and special appearances by the Sun Devil Marching Band and Sparky.

This year, ASU is honored to host insightful panel discussions with experts who have served at the highest national levels and below. The free, catered panels will be at West, Downtown Phoenix and Polytechnic campuses on Nov. 7. U.S. Ambassador Michael Polt and retired Army Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley will lead discussions on service. Polt, ASU ambassador-in-residence in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Leadership, Diplomacy and National Security Lab, served as U.S. ambassador to Estonia, Serbia and Montenegro. Freakley, a special advisor to ASU President Michael Crow for leadership initiatives and a professor of practice, served as the commanding general of the Army’s legendary 10th Mountain Division and led Combined Joint Task Force 76 in Afghanistan from 2006 to 2007. Polt and Freakley will be joined by campus deans, local civic leaders and others who have served in the military or civilian organizations.

Polt and Freakley will also moderate an ASU Leadership, Diplomacy and National Security Lab online discussion on "Why We Serve" on Nov. 1 with ASU-affiliated leaders who have experience in multiple fields and sectors. 

The annual luncheon and discussion with Arizona-based military commanders takes place Nov. 4 in Old Main. The commanders will contribute to a discussion titled “How Are Military Services Adapting to New Domains of Warfare, Specifically Cyber and Space?” The luncheon will be followed by the commander’s top enlisted leaders for a second panel discussion, “The Give and Take of Service.” 

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences invites the community to join its two signature events — the annual Salute to Service reception and the Dean’s Cup flag football tournament. Reserve Naval aviator Jack McCain, son of late Sen. John McCain, will speak at the reception, themed “Honoring Families with a Legacy of Service,” at 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, in Armstrong Hall on the Tempe campus. The reigning champion Air Force ROTC cadets defend their title as they take on the Army, Navy and Pat Tillman Center Veterans teams for the Dean’s Cup flag football championship from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6, on the multipurpose field next to the Sun Devil Soccer Stadium on Dorsey Lane.

Visit the Salute to Service homepage for more information and a complete list of events.

Top photo by Andy DeLisle/ASU

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