Pre-Veterans Day, group gathers to appreciate soldiers


The flagpole across from Altgeld Hall was the sight of an early Veterans Day ceremony Friday.

Around 50 people gathered despite cold and windy conditions to listen to soldiers speak of their appreciation for veterans.

John Galan, president of the NIU Veterans Club, organized the ceremony.

“We have the ceremony to remind people about Veterans Day and to honor people who are in the military or who have been in the military,” Galan said. “It’s also a time to honor those who died in the service of the country.”

Julianna Gehant, who was killed in the Feb. 14 shootings on campus, was also honored at the beginning of the ceremony. Gehant was a member of the NIU Veterans Club and a bench is dedicated to her near the flagpole.

“She was our dear friend,” Galan said.

The treatment of soldiers was one of the topics Matthew Voyles, a major ranking soldier, spoke of during his speech.

“The support the military has received since 9/11 is very appreciated,” Voyles said. “I know some of the veterans from Vietnam who didn’t receive the same appreciation can appreciate it too.”

Emotions ran high for some in attendance during the ceremony. Teary eyes were evident after the singing of the national anthem and throughout the ceremony.

Anne Berg, a research professor in biological sciences who attended the ceremony, was impressed with the service.

“I thought it was very touching,” Berg said. “I think it’s very helpful for all of us to remember the sacrifices of those who have served.”