This year will be the centennial, or 100-year anniversary, of the ending of World War I. As the founding city of Veterans Day, Emporia is no stranger to celebrations.
Roger Heineken, retired Emporia State employee, provided some insight into the national holiday.
“I’ve always appreciated Emporia’s history,” Heineken said. “We really have a history of supporting service of our citizens going back to the Civil War. That is evidenced by the many memorials we have scattering time.”
Upon the end of WWII, the only veterans related celebration was Armistice Day, which celebrated the service members of WWI exclusively.
While talking about the celebrations that occur in town, Heineken mentioned the banner project.
According to Emporia Mainstreet, “Each year over 250 Veterans banners hang downtown and at Emporia State University for approximately one month in conjunction with Veteran’s Day activities for four consecutive years. After the banner’s four year term is completed, the banner is retired.”
Organized by the Freedom Fest committee, which help to raise money for the All Veteran’s Memorial in town, the banner project seeks to honor service members, current and past.
“We tend to forget what World War I did,” said Chris Lovett, Vietnam War veteran and professor of social sciences. “Most of the students are too young. It shaped the world in which we live in today.”
Viewed as the war to end all wars, according to Lovett, many refused to join the war effort.
“People in Britain and Europe didn’t think they could survive another war like this,” Lovett said.
Lovett stressed the importance of honoring veterans.
“Students should appreciate veterans,” said Lovett. “Veterans day is a valuable experience that we can pass from one generation to the next.”
Veterans Day is Sunday, Nov. 11. ESU classes will be cancelled Monday, Nov. 12 in recognition of Veterans Day.