American Communities Observe Veterans Day 2021

The events, celebrations, and ceremonies honor United States Armed Forces veterans this year

Emily Barnett

Gavin Block, Reporter

After over 100 years of celebrating, the nationally recognized Veterans Day has still been going very strong.

Originally known as Armistice Day, the federal holiday occurs on Nov. 11 every year in honor of World War I ending on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. It was made into a legal holiday beginning in 1938, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower had its name changed to Veterans Day in 1954, shortly after the Korean War concluded.

Although Veterans Day salutes both living and dead American soldiers, it puts an emphasis on living veterans who served their country during recent war or peace time; deceased veterans are more commonly memorialized on Memorial Day.

In the official moment of silence on Veterans Day, people observe two minutes of silence starting at 1:11 p.m. Central Standard Time, in tribute to those who have served their nation in all wars.

To be a veteran and to serve your country is a very big deal and shows a lot about a person’s character. They are truly amazing people.

— Jax Drezek (11)

Perhaps the biggest national event this Veterans Day is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier opening to the public. The revered and treasured site will mark its 100th anniversary and will be open to the public for a special two-day event occurring on Nov. 9 and 10 at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. There will be both a procession and a flyover taking place there.

In the days leading up to Veterans Day, the cemetery is also holding a Public Flower Ceremony. Visitors will be able to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both event days.

The Anthem Veterans Memorial in Phoenix, Arizona was constructed in 2011 and consists of five pillars which represent the five branches of the United States military: the United States Army, the United States Marine Corps, the United States Navy, the United States Air Force, and the United States Coast Guard. At exactly 11:11 a.m. on Nov. 11, the sun’s rays will hit the monument in such a way that a glass mosaic medallion of the Great Seal of the United States will be displayed on the ground.

There are also many Veterans Day ceremonies and parades happening in various cities throughout the United States, including New York City, New York; Erie, Pennsylvania; Emporia, Kansas; Washington, D.C.; and Denver, Colorado, among many other places.

Locally speaking, there are a plethora of organized events in accordance with the Veterans Day festivities this year. 

The 38th annual Veterans Day Parade in the city of St. Louis takes place on Saturday, Nov. 6 and starts at 10:30 a.m. The parade was conducted virtually last year due to COVID-19 complications. Before the parade, the St. Patrick Center hosted their 6th Annual Veterans Day 5K Run/Walk. After the parade, a ceremony and concert takes place at noon, sponsored by USAF Bank of Mid-America, Starlifter.

St. Peters Memorial Commission will be hosting their annual Veterans Day Ceremony to pay tribute to the valiant servicemen and women of the United States military starting around 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 11. The event will be held at the Veterans Memorial Site in front of St. Peters City Hall.

At the O’Fallon Veterans Memorial Walk, there will be a special ceremony honoring and thanking the nation’s veterans. It will commence at noon on Thursday, Nov. 11.

The Veterans Memorial Walk in O’Fallon, Missouri consists of cast bronze boots to represent Armed Forces soldiers along with an eternal flame that burns perpetually. (City of O’Fallon)

There are also many sales and bargains that companies are offering during Veterans Day 2021. Businesses that are known to be participating include Amazon, Macy’s, and eBay.

It is expected that this Veterans Day there will be a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance here at Liberty High School along with a moment of silence.

Liberty junior Jax Drezek’s mother, father, and grandfather all served in the United States Armed Forces.

His grandfather was an aviation electrician and petty officer second class in the Navy and served in the Vietnam War. He was stationed on the USS Coral Sea as well as another ship.

Drezek’s mother and father were originally in the Marine Corps and would eventually meet each other during their service. His mother was a logistics specialist while his father was an artilleryman deployed to Iraq who subsequently became a hospital corpsman in the Navy.

Jax is incredibly proud to have relatives that are military veterans.

“It really feels amazing knowing that I have veterans in my family, knowing that I can rely on such credible, strong, and courageous people,” Drezek said. “To be a veteran and to serve your country is a very big deal and shows a lot about a person’s character. They are truly amazing people.”

As you can see, there are numerous events and celebrations happening this Veterans Day. Whether young or old, anyone is able to participate in the commemoration of the brave men and women who have gallantly fought for our freedom. They have consistently protected and preserved that government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Let’s hope that the patriotic observances on this great holiday will continue for another 100 years.