November 11 is a day that, each year, the nation takes a step back from the monotony of everyday life and gives thanks to the men and women who step up and serve our country in the nation’s military.
The University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point’s Veterans Club showed their appreciation for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice by participating in the Remembrance Day Roll Call, a nationwide program where the names of the 6,320 soldiers killed in the decade-long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were read.
The group had initially planned to have volunteers read for 10-minute blocks, but there were so many volunteers that eventually some blocks had to be doubled up.
"After the Chancellor sent out an e-mail to campus about the event, within hours the volunteer list was full," Reusch said. "We could have done three readers per slot."
The group had set up a Google document where anyone could sign up and have access to. By Friday the document had over 500 views.
The group says they were happy with the amount of support the event received, considering it was held on a Friday this year.
"The event was more to get people thinking about veterans and their contributions," said Amanda Folz, a former Air Force linguist. "People were curious what was going on and would stop and listen for a while."
Members of the group say it was important for the message to get out, even if some listening were less receptive than others.
"The people who didn’t want anything to do with it still heard it and at least knew the event was going on," said Patrick Seybert, an Iraq war veteran.
Reusch says the group got outstanding support from the university in helping set up the program, whether it was from the chancellor who spoke at the event, to catering services providing free hot chocolate and coffee to the volunteers who read.
The roll call had been in the works since the beginning of the semester after Reusch received an email from Ann Whipp, the campus veterans’ coordinator, with program ideas.
"Last year we didn’t do anything for Veteran’s Day and we were really disappointed with that," said Zach Reusch, President of the Veterans’ Club and Afghanistan war veteran. "Ann had forwarded the e-mail about the idea to me, along with a couple of other suggestions, and that’s the one we kind of latched onto."
The Remembrance Day Roll Call is a nationwide program that was featured on more than 180 schools and originated at Eastern Kentucky University by Matt Rawlings, an Iraq war veteran and ex-Marine.
Currently there are around 300 veterans enrolled at UWSP.