By Magdalena Knapp, Editor
On Sunday, November 11th, the United States of America stands still for a day to honor all men and women who served in the military for their country. Most of us have someone in our family who has either served as an active member in one of the many wars, or was somehow involved in the military. Once a year on the same day, America unites and pays their respect for those who have served, lost their lives in the war, and dedicated everything they had to their country.
McKendree University does the same. Since Thursday of last week we can observe an enormous amount of miniature American flags draping the walkways on our campus. Dr. James Dennis gave the order to lower the flag between the PAC building and Voigt Science Hall to half-mast in order to honor our veterans.
Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day and marks the anniversary of World War I. The number 11 was not randomly chosen. According to history records, the major hostilities of World War I ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect (military.com, 2016).
The numbers of veterans that we celebrate on this important day are tremendous. 16.1 million living veterans served during at least one war, 5.2 million veterans served in peacetime, 2 million veterans are women, 7 million veterans served during the Vietnam War, 5.5 million veterans served during the Persian Gulf War, and of the 16 million Americans who served during the World War II, about 558.000 are still alive (numbers retrieved on November 10, 2018 from history.com, last updated September 12, 2018, originally published on October 14, 2009).
Many students at McKendree University have their personal family stories about Veterans Day, and the huge importance of this day is also noticeable online: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter overflow on this date with posts of pictures of grandparents, uncles, and other family members and friends who served in the military for our country. It shows the amount of importance that this day holds in our hearts and the willingness from young students to share their grandparents’ stories and help celebrate them as the heroes they are.
National Veterans Day is the day for honoring all veterans across the globe. It is the day to honor those who lost their lives in wars, dedicated everything they had to their country, left their families behind for the greater good and never asked for anything in return. Veterans should be celebrated and honored every day, because what they did, only a few of us would do. November 11th though is especially dedicated to them, and maybe we can do something to celebrate them a little bit more. Write a letter to veterans expressing your feelings or do some volunteering to honor those who served.
For one day, America is united more than ever and dedicates its thoughts to Veterans all over the world.
Pictures: Magdalena Knapp