At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the noise of the geese in NIU’s East Lagoon was drowned out by the clear notes of a bugle as the American flag was raised to the top of the flagpole in front of Still Hall.
Friday’s Veterans Day ceremony was organized by the NIU Veterans Association in coordination with Military & Post-Traditional Student Services. Featured speaker Al Phillips, Vice President for Administration and Finance and an Army veteran, began his speech by recalling the history of Veterans Day, once called Armistice Day. It marks the anniversary of the armistice between the Allied Forces and Germany – which took effect at 11 a.m. Nov. 11, 1918 – to end World War I.
“Our nation remembers the moment the guns of World War I went silent,” Phillips said.
During his speech, Phillips recalled the stories and experiences of a number of veterans he has known.
“They are the hidden heroes of a peaceful nation,” he said. “Our colleagues, friends, neighbors and family members who answered the call and returned to the land they defended … made our nation safer in a world full of new dangers.”
Phillips noted the “special kinds of sacrifice” military members and their loved ones make, but said the payoff is in the development of character and leadership and in serving a cause greater than oneself.
“It is a legacy to be proud of, and those who committed to that legacy must never be taken for granted,” he said. “America remains the best hope for those who live in fear. Millions breathe free today because of American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.”