On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, World War I formally came to an end, marking what would come to be known as Armistice Day. In the years that followed, the day evolved to a national celebration of all veterans through legislation signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954.

At Colorado State University, Veterans Day has been celebrated in different ways throughout the years. In 1970 in the lead up to Nov. 11, the CSU Vietnam Veterans for Peace sponsored a Vietnamese war-wounded child, raising funds for medical aid. More recently, University community members annually read the names of service members who have given the ultimate sacrifice since Sept. 11.

No matter the decade, Veterans Day evokes a range of emotions from the University community. Memories of family and friends. Thoughts of sacrifice. And of course, service.

community voices

Video courtesy of Adult Learner and Veteran Services

veteran voices

Matt Tillman

Lt. Col. Matthew Tillman on a road march while earning his Expert Field Medical Badge at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. 

Veterans Day brings me to reflect on the oath every veteran takes — to defend the Constitution. This past year, there has been a lot of division in the country. But as a citizen, I take a lot of solace in the fact that the greatest military in the history of our planet is not loyal to a party. It hasn’t pledged loyalty to a party or a single leader but the Constitution.

— Lt. Col. Matthew Tillman, CSU Army ROTC commander

Arayck Enriquez

Arayck Enriquez served in the Air Force from 2006-2012.

I’ll be reflecting on my friends and fellow airmen, and other service members, who took their lives. Suicide among veterans is at the highest it’s ever been, and I can’t help but think about the heavy burden they carry but not ask for help. I wish to help change that and help these veterans get better access to mental health services.

— Arayck Enriquez, CSU graduate

CSU ROTC 2006 Faculty

Al Armonda (left) served from 1990-2018 in both Active and Reserve Forces. Armonda’s primary branch was Infantry, and his secondary branch was Civil Affairs.

This Veterans Day, I will be honoring all service members and veterans who’ve served to protect this nation and who, during their service and in their retirement, still abide by the fundamental principles:

1. They support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

2. They do something every day to help their country and all its citizens.

3. They do not allow those less fortunate or incapable of defending themselves to be harmed or taken advantage of.

— Al Armonda, instructor, Department of Military Science

Pulling Lanyard Howitzer

Edgar U. Peyronnin was an Army captain, serving from 1979-1992.

I most fondly remember the shared culture and community, both on and off duty, with which we could achieve so many common goals. Among my experiences, I was fortunate enough to have commanded an outstanding artillery battery in Germany in support of NATO.

Each individual worked the long hours in garrison and the field, from replacing the track on our howitzers out in the mud, cold, and snow, to honing skills and studying manuals in the barracks, keeping us mission capable, attaining top unit status in our battalion. I remember bringing my soldiers to visit famous areas during off-duty hours that they may never have sought out — from Hadrian’s Wall in Germany to Meteora in Greece. I hope that some of them still have memories of these places.

I remember getting up at 0-dark-30 to prepare and give daily briefings to the Post Command and III Corps Artillery group while stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, during Desert Storm. I was the regional subject matter expert and III Corps participated heavily in the operation. There were frequently questions with substantive implications.

Additionally, my former unit in Germany was deployed to the theater with many of the soldiers I helped train. We were all connected with a single mission. My final memory is one that comes with each Sept. 11. I passed my Guideon (unit flag) to the next commander in Germany on Sept. 11, 1987.

Personally, I remember my individual success on this day, but it is very much overshadowed by the events taking place 14 years later. I will enjoy breakfast with my fellow veterans this year as I always have since I moved to Fort Collins at the Senior Center. I look forward to the irreplaceable reminder of a special camaraderie in a time passed.

— Edgar U. Peyronnin, Ph.D., director emeritus, College of Agricultural Sciences

Mark J. Platten

Mark J. Platten served in the U.S. Air Force from 1989-1996, leaving as a captain.

I will be thinking about the others in my family who have served, or are currently serving, in the military. My father-in-law and brother-in-law who retired from the Air Force. My oldest son, Joshua, who was medically retired from the Air Force after coming under fire in Iraq. To my niece, Katie, and her husband, Steve, who are both still active-duty Air Force.

I’ll be reflecting on the honor it was to serve, the esprit de corps that I haven’t found in any other work I’ve done, and the toll it has cost so many of our men and women. I’ll be thinking about those in my men’s group who served and are contemplating suicide, or how to fit into a world that doesn’t operate like the military.

And, I’ll be holding the vision for all those who have been injured – either physically or emotionally – that they may find the path to see themselves as more than their wounds. That they don’t have to be defined by them because they are so much more than what happened to them … and in that lies a pathway to healing and liberation from the wounds.

— Mark J. Platten, Teller County extension director, CSU Extension