Sixty-three years ago, Emporia became the first town in the nation to celebrate Veterans Day.
Until then, Nov. 11 had been known as Armistice Day. By 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower had signed legislation recognizing Nov. 11 as the federal holiday Veterans Day.
It is a day to honor all those who give or who have given service to their nation.
Following are some area events planned to observe Veterans Day:
11 a.m., downtown – Soldiers from the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 137th Infantry, will participate in the Veterans Day Parade. The route will begin at Central and Main and proceed to WaterWalk. Eighty entries, including hundreds of JROTC and middle school leadership cadets, will participate. The closing ceremony at WaterWalk includes remarks by Grand Marshal Jim Sharp. Displays at the WaterWalk will include an Abrams tank, Black Hawk helicopters and other military equipment, along with food trucks.
10 to 11 a.m., Century II Expo Hall – More than 2,000 JROTC and Leadership Corps cadets from eight high schools and nine middle schools will honor veterans. Keynote speaker is Col. Alan Hobson. Music will be provided by the South High School Madrigals and the Titan Band.
8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Woodland Elementary School, 1705 N. Salina – Airmen from the Honor Guard and the 134th Air Control Squadron, 184th Intelligence Wing, will participate in a Veterans Day celebration. There will be a color guard and military equipment on display.
1 to 3 p.m., Park West Retirement Community, 505 N. Maize Road – Soldiers from the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 137th Infantry, will have a Bradley Fighting Vehicle on display.
1 p.m., Wichita VA Auditorium, 5500 E. Kellogg – Col. Vonda Wigal, 184th Medical Group commander, is the guest speaker for the Sedgwick County RSVP Volunteer Recognition.
The following events are on Wednesday, Veterans Day: El Dorado
11 a.m., El Dorado High School, 401 McCollum Road – Capt. Keith Marshall, 184th Intelligence Wing, is guest speaker. Col. Joseph Jabara, vice commander, 184th Intelligence Wing, will be in attendance.
11 a.m., Emporia All Veterans Memorial, 75 Sodens Road – Maj. Rob Sands, executive officer, 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 137th Infantry, is the featured speaker.
11 a.m. and 6 p.m., Mulvane High School, 1900 N. Rock Road – Sgt. Chris Hines, 184th Intelligence Wing, will facilitate a discussion after movie showings.
6 p.m., American Legion Post No. 2, 400 Spencer – Retired Col. Timothy Marlar will be the guest speaker.
8 a.m., Veterans Day Mass at Blessed Sacrament Catholic School, 124 N. Roosevelt – Lt. Col. Jess Sojka, commander, 184th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 184th Intelligence Wing, will participate.
9:30 a.m., Via Christi St. Francis Hospital, 929 N. St. Francis – Honor Guard from the 184th Intelligence Wing will participate.
10:30 a.m., West River Plaza, 2622 W. Central – Honor Guard from the 184th Intelligence Wing will participate.
11 a.m., Wichita Veterans Memorial Park, 339 Veterans Parkway – The new Sedgwick County manager, Brig. Gen. Mike Scholes, will be the featured speaker.
6:30 p.m., Beech Activity Center, 9710 E. Central – An evening honoring former Sen. Robert Dole and other veterans. New York Times best-selling author Wes Moore will be the keynote speaker. Tickets are $100. For more information, go to www.kpts.org.
11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Wichita VA Hospital, 5500 E. Kellogg – Chaplain Lt. Col. John Potter, deputy command chaplain, Kansas National Guard, will participate in Veterans Remembrance Services.