Saturday marks a day to honor veterans of all wars.
Many local schools and organizations plan to take part in recognizing the service of local veterans.
The tradition began when President Woodrow Wilson declared Nov. 11 Armistice Day a year after the end of World War I, and the day was celebrated at each anniversary for veterans of World War I.
Congress approved an act to make the day a holiday in 1938, and a veteran from Alabama had an idea in 1945 to expand the day to honor all veterans, not just those who served in World War I. The holiday then became Veterans Day on May 26, 1954.
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Bob Kinzie, quartermaster at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1925 in Seymour, has organized an event for local veterans that will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday. It includes an evening of food, music and dancing at the post at 311 S. Jackson Park Drive in Seymour. The event is open to all veterans and their families.
Kinzie, a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, said it’s humbling to provide an event for veterans. He recently retired from the Indiana National Guard after 23 years and did a tour in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010.
“I hate to use the word honor, but it’s really an honor to honor them,” he said. “As a veteran myself, I still look up to those that served before me and that are currently serving.”
In addition to the music and celebration, Kinzie said he will take note of all veterans in attendance.
“We will do a recognition at some point throughout the evening,” he said.
One group of veterans Kinzie has much admiration for is veterans of World War II. He said there are about 10 left from Jackson County, and he expects a few to be able to make it to the celebration.
“It’s amazing, and they’re such an inspiration,” he said. “Those are really the guys you look up to.”
From 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, the Seymour VFW also will provide a free meal for veterans and their families.
Many more events will take place around the county, including in the Crothersville High School gymnasium.
“Our kids are going to lead our program,” said Ryan Canada, a social studies teacher at the school.
The program at 11 a.m. Friday will include military traditions from a member of the Indiana National Guard and history about Veterans Day.
Canada has helped the students organize the event. By getting students involved, they can understand some of the sacrifices veterans make to provide freedoms everyone enjoys, he said.
“I think it gives them the idea of what being a servant is and the idea of the fact you don’t always need to be taking, you need to be giving back,” he said. “It’s also important for them to show recognition to those that have provided the ability to have the freedoms that you enjoy.”
Canada said he has spent this week going over war and veteran history with his eighth-grade class.
“We are tracing our roots back to the French and Indian War and how that war actually set the stage for the American Revolution and the ideals that we put out there that we’re still based upon today,” he said.
Veterans Day programs planned in Jackson County
1 p.m.: Seymour First Baptist Church, 505 Community Drive, Seymour
6 p.m.: Seymour-Jackson Elementary School, 508 B Ave. East, Seymour
9 a.m.: War memorial at Gaiser Park along South Walnut Street in Seymour
9:30 a.m.: Seymour-Redding Elementary School, 1700 N. Ewing St., Seymour
9:45 a.m.: Seymour-Jackson Elementary School
10 a.m.: Trinity Lutheran High School, 7120 N. County Road 875E, Seymour
11 a.m.: Jackson County Courthouse, 111 S. Main St., Brownstown (program organized by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1925)
11 a.m.: Crothersville High School, 109 N. Preston St., Crothersville
1:30 p.m.: Brownstown Central High School (for students and staff only)
2 p.m.: Margaret R. Brown Elementary, 550 Miller Lane, Seymour
2:45 p.m.: Seymour Middle School, 920 N. O’Brien St., Seymour
11 a.m.: American Legion Post 89, 402 W. Second St., Seymour (with lunch to follow)
7 p.m.: Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1925, 311 S. Jackson Park Drive, Seymour (for veterans and their families)
2 to 5 p.m.: Meal at VFW Post 1925 (for veterans and their families)
9 a.m.: Cortland Elementary School, 6687 N. County Road 400E, Cortland