Salinans gathered on a damp, overcast fall morning at the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month to honor all veterans.
A respectful crowd gathered for Veterans Day ceremonies at the Salina / Saline County War Memorial in Sunset Park. Among those in the crowd were veterans and their family and friends, area students, and citizens simply wanting to show respect.
Salina Vice-Mayor Bill Longbine spoke. He spoke about the history of Veterans Day, and why it is important we remember and honor all veterans, and their families. Longbine also spoke about the military history of Salina. He said within the last year Salina has been designated a POW / MIA community, joining Manhattan as the only two cities in Kansas with designation. The vice-mayor added that soon a MIA / Missing Man table will be located at the entryway to the Salina City / County Building to serve as a reminder that Salina won’t forget.
The Kansas Wesleyan University Wind Ensemble provided music for the event, which included a performance of the songs of all of the military branches.
Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918. In legislation that was passed in 1938, November 11 was “dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day.’” As such, this new legal holiday honored World War I veterans. In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress — at the urging of the veterans service organizations — amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
Along with the vice-mayor’s presentation, the event in Salina on Saturday included an opening and closing prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, National Anthem, echoing “Taps” played on trumpets, and a 21 gun salute.
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