Observance of Veterans Day

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  • This Veterans Day, this will be the nation’s 103rd observation day. Students can visit the Military and Veterans student services offices for resources and more information.

  • Veterans Day is one of 11 federal holidays. Therefore, all non-essential government offices will be closed in observance of this day.

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TREVOR MEYERS, Photographer

Veterans Day is observed in America on the 11th day of November every year as a day to collectively honor those who have served in the United States Armed Forces. But why exactly does America celebrate and honor their veterans on November 11 every year? For that answer, you need to turn the clock back all the way to November 1918 in Europe.

After a little over four years of constant and bloody battling in trenches in mainland Europe, the German empire capitulated and surrendered to the Allied nations and a cease-fire/ armistice willing to place at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918. As this was regarded at the time as “the war to end all wars,” people started to reflect on the impact that the war had on the world, as roughly 9.7 million military personnel were killed and about 10 million civilians. There were a lot of people to honor and remember. Thus, the name Remembrance Day or Armistice Day, came about for Nov. 11. 

You also might think to yourself, why do veteran organizations sell those little paper poppy flowers? The reason for that is after many soldiers were buried in the later part of the war, a vast number of poppy flowers started to randomly grow on top of the graves where soldiers were buried, thus it became a symbol of those who sacrifice everything for us by giving their lives and fighting in wars.

In November of 1919, United States President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day in America by saying “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…” 

On May 13, 1938, a measure passed that made Nov. 11 each year a legal holiday dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be known as Armistice Day, and it was mainly only celebrated by World War I veterans in America. 

After World War II, which required the massive mobilization of soldiers in our country’s history, and the Korean War, many veterans’ organizations wanted to amend the act of 1938 by replacing the word armistice with the word veteran. It finally became law on June 1, 1954, and Nov. 11 officially became known as a day to honor American veterans of all wars. This Friday marks the 68th Veterans Day.

For those who wish to be a part of some Veterans Day celebration, UNI’s Military and Veteran Student Services are having a “Veterans Night Out.” Participants can have a night out on the town with food and fun and learn about military history and tradition. Located at the grout Museum Iowa Sullivan Brothers Museum at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11. If you’re interested in registering for the event, please email Austin Wood [email protected].