Kansas has a legacy of supporting veterans.
In 1952, Emporia residents provided the inspiration for Veterans Day by starting a grassroots effort for a national day of observance to honor veterans of all wars. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower – supreme commander of the Allied forces during World War II – signed legislation recognizing Nov. 11 as a federal holiday. Before then, it was known as Armistice Day.
Topeka lawyer Harry Colmery is best known for helping draft the GI Bill, which provided many returning World War II service members loans for homes, businesses and education.
The legacy will continue this weekend as area towns continue to honor the men and women who served their country.
• 11 a.m. Saturday – Veterans Day Parade in downtown Wichita. Route begins at Main and Murdock and will proceed down Main to Century II Drive. The parade will feature flyovers by a KC-135 from McConnell Air Force Base and by a Commemorative Air Force T-6 Texan.
• 11 a.m. Sunday – Veterans Memorial Park, Second and Greenway. The ceremony will be conducted by the Air Capital Detachment of the Marine Corps League and will include the presentation of colors, wreath laying and site dedication of the Operation Freedom memorial. All veterans and the public are welcome.
• 2 p.m. Sunday – Second annual Veterans Day Celebration at Derby Area Veterans Memorial, Walk of Freedom at Garret Park, 1100 E. Chet Smith. The event is sponsored by Derby Community Foundation and the city of Derby. In case of inclement weather, the event will be held at Woodlawn United Methodist Church, 431 S. Woodlawn. The celebration includes dedication of a bronze sculpture, “Patriotic,” made by Derby resident and veteran Jim Coffey.
• 7:15 a.m. Saturday – Veterans Breakfast at Presbyterian Manor
• 9:30 a.m. Saturday – Veterans Day Parade on Commercial Street
• 11 a.m. Saturday – Memorial Service at Veterans Memorial Park
• Noon Saturday – Ham and Bean Feed at American Legion and VFW. Donations accepted.
• 11 a.m. Saturday – Celebration of Freedom Parade. Route follows Central to Taylor, North on Taylor to Second, East to Main Street.
• 11 a.m. Sunday – Salute to Veterans, Welcome Center at Butler College.
Veterans Day closings on Nov. 12
Because Veterans Day this year falls on a Sunday, the government is officially observing the holiday on Monday. The following places will be closed Monday or have varied hours:
• Wichita City Hall, all Wichita park and recreation centers and neighborhood city halls, CityArts, Wichita Art Museum, Great Plains Nature Center, Watson Park, Old Cowtown Museum and all Wichita Public Library locations.
• There will be no transit bus service, and transit administration offices will be closed.
• Century II administrative offices and WichitaTIX will be closed, but Century II will be open for scheduled events.
• Botanica’s administrative offices will be closed, but the gardens will be open.
• The city’s municipal golf courses will be open, as will the Ralph Wulz Riverside Tennis Center and the Wichita Ice Center.
• The Wichita Animal Shelter, 3303 N. Hillside, will be open from 1 to 5 p.m.