By Yanling Xu
For more than 200 years, U.S military personnel have put themselves in harm’s way to defend our dreams and freedom. This November 11, after the hotly contested election, we should not forget Veterans Day, a day to remember those brave men and women.
Veterans Day, as the name suggests, is a national holiday to honor all veterans, including those soldiers currently serving and those who have served in the past.
Historically, Veterans Day was called Armistice Day, coinciding with the signing of a peace treaty with Germany at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, in 1918.
“It was called Armistice Day for years, until just recently when we called it Veterans Day,” said Roger Cox, one of the Poweshiek County veteran service officers.
The Veterans Affairs of Poweshiek County is located here in Grinnell on 5th Street.
“My job is to help veterans make claims to the government for a variety of different things,” Cox said. For example, the Veterans Affairs officers help injured veterans.
“I guess there are probably 150 veterans in Grinnell,” Cox said. “Some have new jobs, and some are still homeless. We are trying to help each one according to their needs.”
Putting veterans first is the main principle of the Veterans Affairs Commission. Some benefits include disability, education, vocational rehabilitation and employment.
Veterans Day is a nationwide holiday, and all 50 states have some type of community celebration. As the day approaches, Veterans Day events are being planned around the county, ranging from a special ceremony, to an evening dinner, to a speech or patriotic songs.
“I am from Montezuma. In our city, we have a dinner on Veterans Day, funded by American Legion for the veterans and their spouses.” Cox said. An evening dinner or supper is a common and convenient way to gather all the veterans.
Grinnell, too, has its own celebrations.
“Every year, we have a guest speaker. The guest speaker will first of all present our flag and let all veterans stand up. Also the guest speaker will talk about his service and experience for our country,” said Mike Mintle, a Grinnell veteran.
“Most importantly, we will have a 21-gun salute, which we are trying to do right around 11 o’clock,” Mintle said. A 21-gun salute is a special tradition of military or naval honor in which cannons or firearms are fired.
“This year, we will follow our traditions. … The event will be held at the Eagle Lodge in Grinnell,” Mintle said.
As Grinnellians, we should honor and appreciate these veterans for their contributions to our nation. The Veterans Day Memorial program will be held from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Sunday, November 11 at The Eagles Club on 4th Avenue.