Understanding Veterans Day: Honoring those who served the People | Schiller International University Skip to main content Skip to footer

Understanding Veterans Day

As international students at an American university, we embrace the opportunity to develop appreciation for other cultures, their values, and their practices. This Saturday, America will observe the Veterans Day holiday. Learning about the origin and meaning of Veterans Day gives valuable insight into American values and the people who uphold them.

Veterans Day, celebrated on November 11th each year, is a calling to recognize and honor the brave men and women who served in the U.S. armed forces. In this blog post, we'll explore the history and significance of Veterans Day so we may share our respect for the veterans among our Schiller family.

The Historical Roots

Originally known as Armistice Day, Veterans Day has its roots in commemorating the armistice signed on November 11, 1918, that ended World War I. In 1938, Congress declared November 11th as a legal holiday, emphasizing its dedication to the cause of world peace. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill into law renaming the holiday as Veterans Day. This change expanded the scope of the holiday to honor all American veterans, regardless of their service in various conflicts.

The United States is unique in dedicating a holiday to all veterans without attention to their role in combat. A veteran is someone who honorably served in the Army National Guard, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force, Air National Guard, Space Force, or their Reserve components). Service during times of war or in combat is not required, nor being injured or retired. Since 1973, all American veterans voluntarily accepted the call to serve their nation with an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The Importance of Veterans Day

America honors its veterans because they have served with courage, honor, and commitment. During their service veterans gave up many personal rights, freedoms, and safety. Veterans accepted being told where to live, what job to do, and when to see their family. They faced uncomfortable living conditions and dangerous missions. Their actions demonstrated unselfish service to the People.

Schiller International University is proud to have a long history of supporting veterans during and after their national service. Our mission of providing an international American education was partly inspired to aid veterans and their families serving in Europe. We remain committed to the values and programs that support veterans with post-service education.

Veterans Day gives us the chance to appreciate the personal sacrifices and risks veterans made for the benefit of the nation. It recognizes that veterans bring these positive values and characteristics back to their community. Veterans Day is to commend those who accepted President John F. Kennedy’s call to service, “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

How to Observe Veterans Day

The official observance will be two minutes of silence at 2:11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Saturday, November 11, 2023. Anyone anywhere can make the personal choice to participate.

Many of our fellow international students, faculty, and staff are veterans who have served in the U.S. military. You may even share a class with one. The traditional way to honor veterans is to simply express appreciation for their service. Your recognition of their character and sacrifice may be the opening of a new friendship.

For those wishing to do more, non-profit organizations provide services or aid to veterans. There are organizations that support veterans in general to those focused on specific needs. Supporting these organizations can be a rewarding commitment. The veteran students at Schiller are a great way to decide which organization to support.

Peter Aguilar - Schiller International University - Paris Campus Registrar & Professor

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