The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Chez Veterans Center hosts Veterans Day celebration

On Friday, the Chez Veterans Center and the University ROTC hosted their sixth annual Veterans Day celebration to honor military veterans of the United States Armed Forces. 

The celebration included a march followed by a speech by Samuel Skinner, an Army veteran and University alum. The event concluded with a celebratory lunch. 

“When I was in Illinois after World War II, there were tons of veterans on the campus, they lived in housing there, we were on it, it was in the DNA at the University of Illinois, that Memorial Stadium was built,” Skinner said. 

The speech given by Skinner focused on the long-standing history of veterans in the country and stressed the lack of gratitude for veterans. 

“(There are) almost six million that have served since 1990, and over 35% are on disability,” Skinner said. “And many of them hadn’t even had a big night. And we spent a lot of money, but we still do. But more importantly, we’ve kind of lost the common words.”

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    Skinner said that gratitude can be expressed simply through only five words: “Thank you for your service.” This is meaningful and respectful to the veterans who have worked to protect the country and ensure national security, he explained. 

    The Chez Veterans Center opened eight years ago in 2015. It serves to provide academic support and other services to military-connected students.

    Emily Redeker, a junior who served in the U.S. Army as a paralegal for Judge Advocate General’s Corps, spoke on the impacts service can have on service members and families.

    “There’s a lot more than just me serving,” Redeker said. “There’s my family. There’s my sister that I barely saw, there is my mom and dad who had to deal with me and not be home, or not even being within a driving distance. But then there’s also people who, like, people in there who have lost limbs who have, like, who have things going on in their mind that they’ll never get rid of.” 

    The celebration included the recitation of the national anthem along with decorations of American flags and attendees were able to take yellow ribbons and badges with the American flag on it to represent their pride for their country. 

    “So when you ask me, ‘Why should I celebrate myself?,’ I don’t think we should, because I did what I thought I had to do for the country for my other fellow airmen (and) guardians,” Redeker said when asked about the significance of the event.

    “But (the veterans) — the people in there that also served with me, I think we should celebrate them and their families,” Redeker said. 


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