In honor of Veterans Day, Williamsburg will host the Virginia Veterans Tribute weekend this year.
Originally known as “Armistice Day,” the federal holiday was established in 1938 as a day to honor veterans of World War I, and to show dedication to the cause of world peace. Under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the day was officially renamed Veterans Day, and became a time to honor American veterans of all wars. Each year, events take place across the nation to honor and celebrate those who have served our nation.
“The country as a whole comes together to honor people close to you who have sacrificed everything,” Elizabeth Kruegler ’15, ROTC member and daughter of two armed forces members, said.
New Town has been chosen as the location for the dedication of a Veterans Tribute Bell Tower. Built by the Verdin Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, the tower, which is 32 feet tall, will be dedicated Friday morning at Sullivan Square, and will serve as a permanent landmark to pay tribute to those who have sacrificed for this country. Only four other cities across the nation have been so recognized.
The Veterans’ Coalition is also planning a parade to celebrate veterans for Saturday morning.
“[The coalition is] a charity looking to raise awareness and create a community blueprint for veterans reintegration straight into communities,” Co-Executive Director Mike Hickey said. “The theme is to salute the past, honor the present and inspire the future, represented by veterans, active duty members and ROTC cadets.”
The College of William and Mary will play a significant role throughout the weekend, from students volunteering at events to College organizations catering them. The Wren Bell will toll at 11:11 a.m. A reception will be held at 5 p.m. Friday in the New Town Art Gallery for Jeanne Weaver’s art exhibit, “Losing Todd: A Mother’s Journey,” previously shown in the Sadler Center.
“Three members of the Queens’ Guard will be providing a silent watch over the Lieutenant [Todd] Weaver memorial,” Lieutenant Colonel Barbara Streater, military science professor, said.
Additionally, Colonial Williamsburg is offering free “Honoring Service to America” tickets to veterans all weekend long. These tickets provide admission to most Colonial Williamsburg exhibition sites, art museums and daytime programs, along with free parking at the visitor center and usage of shuttle buses. They are available to active-duty military, reservists, retirees, veterans and their immediate dependents.
“What’s really nice about the Williamsburg community is that they always want to help us,” Streater said. “This weekend should be really fun.”
Kruegler expressed appreciation to the public for the upcoming recognition ceremonies on Veterans Day.
“It’s nice to know that people remember [Veterans Day], you always think that young people aren’t aware of it,” Kruegler said.