Veterans enjoy day of honor

Online Poster

Online Poster

By Caroline Kim

David Sayers, sophomore in LAS, said he takes more pride in Veterans Day now because he is a veteran.

“I don’t attend any class or any work … It was always a big holiday to get together and spend time with family vets,” said Sayers, a former paratrooper for the U.S. Army.

In 1954, former President Dwight D. Eisenhower designated Nov. 11 as Veterans Day, a national holiday to honor American veterans of all wars. The date has special meaning because at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918, World War I ended, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Web site,

More than 2.5 million veterans are alive today in the United States, according to the Web site.

The day was originally observed as Armistice Day beginning in 1926 to honor the veterans from World War I, but the name was later changed to Veterans Day in 1954 to include veterans from other wars as well.

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From the national ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia to celebrations at local American Legion Posts, veterans gather to commemorate the holiday.

Champaign’s American Legion Post 559, on 708 N. Hickory St., will host a lunch today for veterans at 11 a.m. where traditional ham and beans will be served.

Robert Sallee, the treasurer for Post 559, said he respects the day as one set aside for veterans.

“I believe that Veterans Day is a day that all veterans should take part in due to the fact that the veterans served the country. They did what the country asked them to do,” Sallee said.

Fred Cobb, a University employee and a U.S. Air Force Vietnam-era veteran, said he celebrates Veterans Day differently each year. He sometimes goes to the cemetery or attends the lunch at Post 559.

“I feel that it’s an appropriate holiday to have because it shines the spotlight on the veterans and they did something worthwhile for the country,” Cobb said. “It’s more special than a number of other holidays because it makes me think about veterans issues … It makes the country at large think about it.”

Jay Jackson, retired Air Force master sergeant and former vice commander of Post 559, said Veterans Day is very special to him.

“Veterans need to be respected very much because they paved the way for us,” Jackson said. “It shouldn’t have to be that one day. It should be an on-going thing.”

Sayers said that it is a great holiday that is under-appreciated by the University and other organizations.

“It’s a day that people can say thanks to veterans and to thank them for what the veterans provided for them in the greatest nation in the world,” Sayers said.