The guns fell silent on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
At 11 a.m., Nov. 11, 1918, an armistice ending the Great War went into effect, and silence fell for the first time in four years from the trenches of Belgium and France to the jungles of Africa and the desert of what is now Iraq.
It had been the bloodiest war the earth had ever known: nearly 40 million total casualties. Great empires crumbled, nations collapsed, old orders vanished and the political map of the world was altered forever. Scholars are still debating the effects of the Great War (1914-18), but none debate it shaped the world we live in today, for good and for evil.
Armistice Day is celebrated in the United States as Veterans Day, a tribute to all veterans of all wars, not just the Great War. Signed into law by President Eisenhower in 1954, the holiday originally called for a suspension of all business at 11 a.m.
The Veterans Services Committee at Columbia College also recognizes its veteran students, faculty and staff on Veterans Day. A table in the student commons with refreshments will be manned by students, faculty and staff veterans, and everyone is invited to stop to show their support for veterans.
A veterans forum will precede the holiday on Nov. 10, the second in a series of educational forums focusing on the needs of veteran students. The forum, to be held Tuesday, Nov. 10 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Banquet Room of Dulany Hall on the Columbia College main campus, will feature a VA mortgage specialist, a realtor and a small business counselor. These specialists will speak on buying a home with a VA mortgage and on unique small business opportunities available to veterans such as the Patriot Express Loan, a program which lends up to $500,000 for most business purposes including start ups, expansion, equipment purchases, working capital, inventory or business-occupied real-estate purchases.
Columbia College has a long history of serving military learners. Its instructors began reaching out to educate military learners nearly 40 years ago. From an informal educational relationship with one base in St. Louis, the college has expanded to campuses on 18 military bases, including one in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. About one third of all its students are military active duty, reserve, dependent or veterans. Its latest campus is on the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot in San Diego, Calif., a metro area that is home to one of the largest concentrations of military personnel in the world. Today, serving the educational needs of active duty servicemembers, veterans and their families is a core component of the college's identity.
And the college continues to improve veteran services. Columbia College is proud to have a strong military and veteran student support system in place across all its campuses. In anticipation of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which went into effect the summer of 2009, a Veteran Services Committee was re-established on the main campus to enhance and strengthen services for student veterans throughout the college venues.
The committee has:
- Opened a Veterans Service Center in Missouri Hall to help vets navigate academia
- Created new veteran, military and dependent scholarships, such as a Coast Guard spouse scholarship
- Improved the flow of VA benefit information to students
- Established a formal, college-wide recognition event on Military Recognition Day, held on the main and many Nationwide campuses each May
- Initiated a series of educational forums for veterans.
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day with these words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations..."
Wilson's sentiments are as true today as they were 90 years ago.
For more information about the Veteran Services Committee, please contact Tery Donelson, chair and assistant vice president for Enrollment Management at (800) 231-2391, ext. 7490 or firstname.lastname@example.org.