The Rexburg Area Chamber of Commerce will host a special celebration to honor veterans at Madison High School on Friday morning.
“We have about 30 American flags that will be present,” said Janalyn Holt, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce. “John Bagley from the Legacy Flight Museum also has some military vehicles that we’ll have in the front of the high school, just so when anybody comes, they know it’s a different kind of a day.”
The program will include a flag ceremony by the National Guard Armory, an honor wreath ceremony by the Chamber of Commerce, remarks by Joseph Law of Veterans of Foreign Wars and remarks from Madison High School student Julia Meservy. The event will also feature multiple musical numbers performed by the Madison High School band and service hymns led by Mayor Jerry Merrill.
There will be 30 honor wreaths that will be presented at the event, all paid for by donations from various businesses and organizations from the Rexburg area.
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, Veterans Day was born Nov. 11, 1918 when an armistice, “or temporary cessation of hostilities,” went into effect between the Allied Nations and Germany. The armistice would be the source of peace during World War I that eventually led to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, officially ending “the Great War.” The eleventh day of the eleventh month would be known as Armistice Day until 1954 — years after World War II ended — when it was renamed Veterans Day, to not only honor the sacrifice of WWI veterans, but all the men and women that have served in the armed forces throughout history.
“I think every veteran just wants to feel like they are appreciated, that they’re remembered and they’re honored,” Holt said. “This is our way of trying to (do that).”
While the event is celebrating the federal holiday to honor American veterans of all wars, this year it will also celebrate another anniversary.
“We are celebrating 50 years of the Vietnam War being finished when the last (prisoners of war) were released,” Holt said.
According to the National Museum of the United States Air Force website, the Vietnam War ended in January 1973 with the signing of the Paris Peace Accords. This included “provisions for exchanging prisoners of war,” resulting in a plan called “Operation Homecoming” that brought home 591 POWs being held in South Vietnam.
Historically, Veterans Day celebrations throughout the country are held at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, but adjustments can be made in each community to allow maximum participation. The Rexburg Veterans Day celebration will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday at the Madison High School gymnasium at 2300 University Blvd. Though it’s being held at the high school, this is a free event open to all members of the community.
For more information, visit the Rexburg Area Chamber of Commerce website.