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Cornell honors veterans, celebrates Armistice centennial

McGraw Tower with its clock face lit in green for Veterans Day 2016.

A century ago, Cornell provided 4,598 commissioned officers to fight in World War I – more than any other institution, including West Point. Of nearly 9,000 Cornellians – students, faculty and alumni – who enlisted in the U.S. military for that effort, 264 gave their lives before the war ended with the armistice, Nov. 11, 1918.

On Nov. 10-11, Cornell will remember their service at a Centennial Celebration, Nov. 10, 4:30-7 p.m. in Risley Hall, and a wreath-laying ceremony on Armistice Day, Nov. 11, at 11 a.m. at the Baker Flagpole outside the World War I War Memorial on West Campus. Both events are free and open to the public.

In honor of Veterans Day, which recognizes all military veterans and active service men and women, McGraw Tower will be lit green from 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, until dawn, Monday, Nov. 12, joining “Greenlight A Vet,” a nationwide effort to show support and appreciation for military veterans.

The Centennial Celebration will feature the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Presentation of the Colors by the Cornell Tri Brigade Color Guard. Ryan Lombardi, vice president for student and campus life, will be the featured speaker, and Rick Burgess, vice president for facilities and campus services, will read final letters home. Readings and commentaries also will be presented by ROTC midshipmen and cadets, Cornell students and others. The Cornell Glee Club and Chorus, Cornell Syncopators, Cornell Opera Club and Finger Lakes Pipe Band will provide music.

A reception will follow the celebration program at 7 p.m., followed by dancing.

The Centennial Celebration was spearheaded by Grady Owens ’21, chair of the Risley arts subcommittee and lead for the Risley Centennial Commission, and is sponsored through Risley Residential College.

The Nov. 11 Armistice Day Memorial event will be hosted by ROTC and the Division of Alumni Affairs and Development. The ceremony will feature the raising of a WWI-era flag; recitation of excerpts from poetry and writings of WWI; a speech by John Hubbel Weiss, associate professor of history and veteran of the United States Army; and the laying of a poppy wreath.

Following the ceremony, the World War I War Memorial will remain open to the public for the rest of the afternoon.

Media Contact

Gillian Smith