On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the month, the guns sent silent. One year later, on November 11, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson began his Armistice Day address to his fellow countrymen with these words, delivered from the White House:
“A year ago today our enemies laid down their arms in accordance with an armistice which rendered them impotent to renew hostilities, and gave to the world an assured opportunity to reconstruct its shattered order and to work out in peace a new and just set of international relations. The soldiers and people of the European Allies had fought and endured for more than four years to uphold the barrier of civilization against the aggressions of armed force.”
The Heidelberg community gathered on Monday -- 100 years after the horrors of World War I formally came to an end – to honor the service and sacrifice of all veterans. Student Senate coordinated the annual Veterans Day ceremony, which was emceed by senior Kevin Scrudders.
In his opening remarks, President Rob Huntington thanked all veterans – including those among Heidelberg’s faculty and staff – for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. “It is a common good that we should all care about,” he said.
As has been tradition for a number of years, the United Veterans Council braved the chilly temperatures to present the colors and a 21-gun salute. Lo Jackson, a junior theatre and music major, sang the “National Anthem.” Kevin read a portion of an address by decorated war General Colin Powell, the former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State from Veterans Day 1989.
Quoting Powell’s speech, Kevin recited the following: “The nation owes a great debt to its veterans, whose service to the nation spans every decade, every year, every day of our country’s existence. Through untold courage and sacrifice, America’s veterans have secured the liberty which the founding fathers sought to establish here in the new world. Whenever and wherever the nation has called – in times of darkness and danger as well as in times of peace and prosperity – America’s veterans have been there. Veterans have proudly carried the torch of liberty for all to see.”
Heidelberg’s tribute concluded with the playing of “Taps” by senior music major Megan Gwirtz and a prayer for peace from Chaplain Paul Sittason Stark.