Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

November 13, 2013

Veterans honored at 11:11 with 21-gun salute

By Devan Strebing devan.strebing@flyergroup.com
Hendricks County Flyer

---- — DANVILLE — Veterans were honored Monday at the Hendricks County Courthouse for their service to the country.

The morning event began at 11:11 a.m., recognizing the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, when WWI ended and President Wilson proclaimed the day to be Armistice Day, which was signed as a legal holiday in 1938.

The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11 a.m. But in 1954, Congress proclaimed the day to be called Veterans Day.

At 11:11 a.m., a 21-gun salute from the Danville American Legion was performed for veterans and civilians alike in front of the courthouse.

Once inside the rotunda for the ceremony, the Danville High School Encore Warriors performed the Star Spangled Banner.

The county veterans service officer, Lori Turpin, then conducted the ceremony starting with recognizing all of the veterans from every war since WWI. Veterans from every war, including peacetime veterans, stood and were recognized for their service.

Turpin read a letter from U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana. He has introduced a bill to begin construction on a Desert Storm Memorial. In the letter, he said it would be at no cost to the government and the veterans who provided service in this war deserve to be identified.

The keynote speaker for the ceremony was Ralph (Zoc) Zoccolillo, a U.S. Army veteran and chairman of the Indiana Blue Star Salute, which is a not-for-profit corporation for military families.

Today Blue Star Service Banners are displayed by families who have a loved one serving in the armed forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, of all military departments. The banner displayed in the front window of a home shows a family’s pride in their loved one serving in the military, and reminds others that preserving America’s freedom demands much. The Blue Star represents one family member serving in the armed forces. A banner can have up to five stars, signifying that five members of that family are currently in military uniform on active duty.

“This organization has grown from an event into a program,” said Zoccolillo. “The banner started in WWI and was in so many windows by WWII, but during the Korean War it wasn’t prevalent, and by Vietnam it was nonexistent. Today we continue to keep it going.”

The Blue Star salute honors all veterans and their families who have someone serving in the military. For more information, visit; http://www.indianabluestar.org/.