Veterans Day at Inver Hills

Military & Veterans Lounge

Federal holiday Wednesday, November 11, 2020 Honoring All Who Served

Veterans Day is observed on the 11th day of November every year irrespective of what day of the week the federal holiday lands. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the significance of November 11 dates back to 1918 when an armistice between Allied forces and Germany took effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of that year. November 11, 1918, is customarily recognized as the conclusion of “the war to end all wars.”¹

Today, Veterans Day represents an annual celebration remembering and honoring U.S. Armed Forces veterans for their sense of duty, love of country, and readiness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

Serving veterans, active-duty military and their families at Inver Hills

Veterans Lounge in Heritage Hall
Military & Veterans Lounge in Heritage Hall on Inver Hills campus

Since 1982, Inver Hills Community College has worked to promote strong relationships with our veterans, service members and their families. Inver Hills and the college’s Military & Veterans Services provide a comprehensive, veteran-specific array of support services, scholarships and networking and employment opportunities while collaborating with area communities and agencies. We have teamed up with Inver Hills counselors to make sure our military/student veterans and service members adapt to college life and achieve their career goals.

Best for Vets ranked Inver Hills #5 nationwide and #1 in Minnesota among two-year schools for excellent veteran and military student success. Best for Vets is an editorially independent news project that evaluates the many criteria that make an organization a good fit for service members, military veterans and their families.

If you are a veteran, servicemember or dependent using your veteran benefits to attend college, Inver Hills acts as your liaison with the Veterans Administration. Our campus is home to a spacious Military & Veterans Lounge and the John H. Thill Veterans Resource Center. Veterans and military students make up the single largest constituent group on our campus.

Military Times has ranked Inver Hills Community College #5 in the nation and #1 in Minnesota on Best for Vets: Colleges 2020: 2-Year Schools. The ranking recognizes the college for its focus on excellent veteran and military student success. Best for Vets is an editorially independent news project that evaluates the many criteria that make an organization a good fit for service members, military veterans and their families.

Inver Hills has been consistently ranked nationally by Best for Vets:
  • 2020: #5
  • 2019: #20
  • 2018: #21
  • 2017: #6
  • 2016: #3
  • 2015: #6
  • 2014: #3
  • 2013: #3

Inver Hills has been named a Military Friendly® school since 2010. Military Friendly® is owned and operated by VIQTORY, a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business. Our staff, faculty and administrators are committed to serving veteran and military students as they work to attain their educational and career goals. Military & Veteran Services is here to see that you have what you need to find success in college.

A Brief History of Veterans Day¹

Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918. In legislation that was passed in 1938, November 11 was “dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day.'” As such, this new legal holiday honored World War I veterans.²

In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress—at the urging of the veterans service organizations—amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

In 1968, the Uniforms Holiday Bill ensured three-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. Under this bill, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holiday on its original date. The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on Oct. 25, 1971.

Finally on September 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a law which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of Nov. 11, beginning in 1978. Since then, the Veterans Day holiday has been observed on Nov. 11.


What does Veterans Day mean to you?

Members of the Inver Hills and DCTC campus communities share their thoughts on Veterans Day.

Veterans Day is special to me—along with most veterans I would assume. Unfortunately, with the U.S. consistently at war for the past 20 years, I feel some luster has been lost.

However, it is a day for me to celebrate with other veterans the contributions we were able to provide for our great country!

While most veterans more often than not do know how to receive a “thank you for your service and sacrifice” in person, Veterans Day enables us to feel appreciated and remembered by our fellow Americans. The fact that Veterans day is also a federal holiday proves to both veterans and civilians that this day is a special day, and one that should not be taken for granted.

Veterans Day also enables me to review photos and blurbs that are posted on social media that remind us all of the memorable experiences made in our service time. I thank all those who say “thank you” to a veteran and all veterans for the sacrifices they made as individuals and toll it took on their families. Remember that a military member can never do well without the support, love and appreciation from their family!

[Tim served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years. At Inver Hills, he is president of Club V.A.L.O.R. and Student Senate. A native of Garden Grove, California, he moved with his wife and two children to Minnesota in 2019.]

Tim Smith
U.S. Navy Veteran
Junior Majoring in Business

Student Senate President
Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Committee
Inver Hills Community College
Tim Smith

Veterans day to me means recognizing the sacrifices of those who have served. I wish there was a better word to use when I say sacrifice because it truly does not capture the commitment a veteran has to family and country. Veterans have dedicated their lives to people they do not know but have an innate sense of protection for those we love and respect.

The time a veteran has served, they will never get back, the memories we missed out on, we will never enjoy. Watching our children grow up through pictures is a heartache I do not wish on anyone. When we thank a veteran for their services, we are thanking them for much more than wearing a uniform, So thank you to our veterans of all branches both past and present.

[Janet served from 2003 to 2007 in the U.S. Navy while raising two children. She was a BM3, or petty officer third class, with the job of boatswain’s mate, a traditionally male role aboard ship. She was born in Agana Heights, Guam.]

Janet Lorenzo
2017 Inver Hills Community College Graduate
2020 St. Catherine University Graduate
U.S. Navy Veteran

(left to right) Janet with shipmates Janet at 2017 Inver Commencement

Veterans Day is a day to honor those who have served. For me, it’s a day to reach out to living family and friends who served, and a day to remember loved ones who served and have since passed away.

Both of my grandfathers went overseas during the Korean War. My grandpa, Donald Marzahn, enlisted at 19. He quickly rose to the rank of sergeant  in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He built many roads and bridges near Seoul, South Korea, during the war.

Grandpa Don passed down a few things to me, two specific examples come to mind as it relates to his time in the Army. He passed on to me he his entrepreneurial spirit, or as my family likes to say, his MacGyver-like innovation. One of the roads he was building was close to enemy lines and there was occasional fire. He was tired of getting shot at while working, so he commandeered a tank and somehow fastened a bulldozer blade on it to finish the project. No one is quite sure how he was able to make this heavy-duty, makeshift contraption function, but that is the mystery of his MacGyver-y ways.

When he was allotted time off, Grandpa Don would take shore leaves in Japan or Hawaii. That’s where he bought the fine China my grandmother still uses to this day. He also bought a 35mm camera. This camera is special in many ways. It is the camera he took photos with during his time in the service. This very camera was also passed down in the family and now belongs to me. If you know me now, you can see why I find this camera extra special and perfectly fitting. At the time, Grandpa Don had no way of knowing that of all his grandkids, I would one day grow up to be a photographer. Looking back, maybe he’s the one who planted the seeds, and I owe it all to him.

Rachel Marzahn
Interactive Media Coordinator
Dakota County Technical College
Inver Hills Community College

(left to right) Don Marzahn in Korea: With fellow soldier Company A, 120th Engineer Combat Battalion Helping farmer Driving bulldozer

I am a military veteran that proudly served our country for 17 years and was medically discharged as a result of a deployment to Iraq in 2013.

At the age of 18, I was struggling with direction in my life. My father was a WWII veteran who was injured as he stormed the beaches of Normandy. He rarely spoke about his Army experience, but was a strong supporter of me signing up to serve our country.

My service as a Marine provided me structure, discipline, family and direction. That service was the foundation of the person I have become today. I was proud to wear the uniform, proud to protect our country, and proud to make a difference.

Joining the military was the best thing that happened to me, other than marrying my wife, Diane.

I am proud to be a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, active-duty, and the U.S. Air Force Reserve. Veterans Day to me is a day to recognize my fellow veterans who came before me and those serving today, and thank them and their families for the sacrifices they have made on behalf of our country.

Tony Pangal
Director of Safety and Security
Inver Hills Community College
Dakota County Technical College

(left to right) Boot camp graduation in San Diego, California Enjoying sushi with extended family in Tokyo, Japan Plane ride home from Iraq

Veterans Day means freedom, sacrifice, and our future. In my role as military and veteran services coordinator at Inver Hills, every day is Veterans Day in my office! Veterans have served our country, and now it’s our turn to serve them.

On a personal note, I come from a family with a military background. My father served in World War II and the Korean War. I have a brother who served in the U.S. Coast Guard and nephews in the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy.

I want to thank all our veterans for everything that they have done. Our veterans have sacrificed so much by protecting our freedom and giving us the opportunities to continue on with our daily living. Many people do not understand all they have done for us, and I for one am extremely grateful.

Sue Flannigan
Military & Veteran Services Coordinator
School Certifying Official
Inver Hills Community College

(left to right) Jared Hernandez, U.S. Navy, Sue’s nephew, receiving Sailor of the Month Award Scott Simpson, U.S. Army, Sue’s nephew-in-law, with his wife, Andrea, Sue’s niece Wally Beckman, U.S. Navy, Sue’s dad

For me, Veterans Day reminds us to honor those who serve and the families of service members who all make sacrifices to deliver on the many missions of our armed services. Not only do they protect us and our interests, they respond in emergencies and provide humanitarian relief. The day also reminds us to listen to our veterans about what they and their families need, especially here at the colleges, to meet their educational goals.

Michael Berndt
Inver Hills Community College
Dakota County Technical College

What Veterans Day means to me: Shining a spotlight on those who have served and are still serving. Giving recognition to those who serve a thankless job. I didn’t serve for the benefits or the recognition. I wanted to give back to what was given to me from those before me.

Steven Pantelis
Junior Majoring in Law Enforcement
Inver Hills Community College
U.S. Marine Corps Veteran

When I am cold and shivering on a blustery winter day, I think of my grandfather living in misery as a prisoner of war. When I celebrate my birthday enjoying cake and ice cream, I think of how hungry my grandfather was celebrating his 20th birthday as a prisoner of war. When I visit a doctor’s office, I think of my injured grandfather suffering as a prisoner of war. To me, Veterans Day means that I have a roof over my head; I have food to eat; and I have the health care that I need thanks to servicemen and servicewomen like my grandfather.

My grandfather, Orlyn D. Chunat, enlisted in the Air Force in October of 1942. As a second lieutenant, he was a copilot and flew 21 complete missions during World War II as part of the 303rd Bombardment Group, 358th Bomb Squadron. On October 21, 1944, as my grandfather’s plane was about to bomb a refinery (a main point of impact target, or MPI, during the war) in Merseburg, Germany, his aircraft got hit by enemy fire.

He parachuted out of his burning B-17G bomber at approximately 8,000 feet in the air, but not before getting hit from shrapnel as he was leaving his copilot’s seat to jump. My grandfather was a prisoner of war for five months. That was 152 days of suffering.

As I continue to telework for more than five months now, I have no complaints. I have a warm house to live in; I have food to eat; I have access to quality healthcare. On Veterans Day, I thank the 1.3 million women and men who are currently enlisted in our military branches; I thank the 17.4 million veterans who have served in the military; and I thank the 180,000 young Americans who enlist every year for active-duty service in the U.S. Armed Forces.

When we start to complain about all of the presumed negatives associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, I use the words of Rosie the Riveter, the WWII cultural icon:“We can do it.” Thank a veteran in your life today. Your world would be a very different place without them.

Lisé Freking
Marketing and Communications Director
Inver Hills Community College
Dakota County Technical College

(left to right) Orlyn D. Chunat Leroy E. Glass Crew: 358th Bomber Squadron Grayson Freking at WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. [click image for Grayson’s report on his great-grandfather]

To me, Veterans Day is a day to give thanks to those who have served our country and sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

My father, Lance Carlson, was in the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam War; he was 18 years old when his name was drafted. Having a son myself who is 22, I can’t imagine the agony my grandparents felt the day he left or how terrified my father was. It must have been hard not knowing if he would return, or if my grandparents would see him again—and if he did come back, what toll would his serving in the war mentally and physically do to him?

Thankfully, my father came back home, or I wouldn’t be here today. However, I know he and many others continue to struggle mentally and physically, which also significantly impacts their families. My father has taught me not take our freedom for granted and also respect the American flag and always thank a vet!

Not only do I feel compelled to thank our veterans on Veterans Day, I am grateful to the Veteran’s Administration Health Care System and other organizations who honor our veterans by providing care and services to help our veterans to ensure they have quality healthcare and resources. No veteran should be homeless or left to suffer alone. I continue to be emotionally impacted each time I visit the VA Hospital and see how every person there appreciates and acknowledges our veterans.

[Laina’s dad, Lance Carlson, was a Specialist E4 serving during the Vietnam War with C Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Calvary, 1st Calvary Division (Air Mobile), July 1966–July 1967. He served for 20 years in the Minnesota National Guard, retiring as a major.]

Laina Carlson
Human Resources Director
Dakota County Technical College
Inver Hills Community College

(left to right) Specialist E4 Lance Carlson serving during the Vietnam War

My father, Richard M. Hayes, retired as a captain from the U.S. Navy after 29 years of service. He served aboard a destroyer in the Pacific Theater during WWII. My mother, Doloris L. Hayes, served as a U.S. Navy nurse during WWII, also in the Pacific Theater, where my parents first met. They are both buried in Arlington Cemetery.

My twin brother, Michael G. Hayes, retired as a commander from the U.S. Navy after 29 years of service. As a naval aviator, he flew an A-6 Intruder on 45 sorties during the first Gulf War. He resides with his wife, Jackie, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Mike and Jackie have two adult children, Katie Meeks and Steve “Slade” Hayes, and four granddaughters.

My brother-in-law, Del Stedman, was a U.S. Marine who saw extensive combat during the Vietnam War. Del was exposed to Agent Orange and died from cancer in 1983 at the age of 36.

I remember my family on Veterans Day.

Chris Hayes
Senior Writer & Photographer
Inver Hills Community College
Dakota County Technical College

(left to right) Hayes family circa 1959 • Golf with Mook • Del with Patty, his wife

For more information about Military & Veteran Services at Inver Hills, contact:

Sue Flannigan
Military & Veteran Services Coordinator
School Certifying Official
College Center: Room 214

¹ Source: Military. com
² According to Wikipedia, World War I was “one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated 9 million combatant deaths and 13 million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the related 1918 Spanish flu pandemic caused another 17–100 million deaths worldwide, including an estimated 2.64 million Spanish flu deaths in Europe and as many as 675,000 Spanish flu deaths in the United States.”
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