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Same flag, many landscapes. The U.S. flag and the freedoms associated with it are among threads that weave together the experience of veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and the current war. Whether soldiers or veterans, 18 years old to 88 years old, there’s a sense of symbolic understanding that binds them together.

On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States –including at the World Trade Center towers in New York City – dealt a shocking blow that was felt around the world. In its wake, America began sending troops to Iraq and Afghanistan in a “war on terror.” For the many veterans that had fought in past wars, it renewed a sense of patriotism. Soon these same veterans who had gone to previous wars, rallied around those who were leaving their families and friends and beginning a new chapter in American history.

However, these veterans were not the only ones who showed their support. Across the nation, many universities and colleges began holding special events during their football seasons to honor America’s military servicemen and service women who were stationed abroad. These collegiate events quickly became known as Military Appreciation Game Days.

In 2005, Ken Hunt, professor of military Science, at the University of Idaho, wondered why his university didn’t have its own Military Appreciation Day. After all, the University of Idaho had a strong and proud ROTC tradition on its campus.

“Around that time, 4,500 soldiers of the 116th Brigade Combat Team were going to Iraq,” Hunt recalls. “We wanted to find a way to tell the families and the community we were thinking about them.”

Hunt joined Rob Hill, with Inland Northwest Broadcasting, and worked to create a day to honor American military personnel. Hunt talked to Rob Spear, the University’s athletics director, and soon the concept of a University of Idaho Military Appreciation Day became a reality.

“Military Appreciation Day started with a series of events and then it expanded,” says Hunt. “We had vehicles from the Idaho National Guard – helicopters and armored vehicles plus several assets from local recruiters. We also rapelled with the coin down from the Kibbie Dome rafters for the coin toss.”

The first Military Appreciation Day at the University of Idaho took place in early November 2005; it just missed the homecoming of the first group of soldiers from the 116th Brigade Combat Team’s by a mere two weeks.

Now in its fifth year, the University of Idaho’s Military Appreciation Day comes on the eve of the 10th anniversary of 9/11.Time has not dimmed the memory of that tragic day. In two weeks, another group from the 116th Brigade Combat Team will return home to Idaho.

As the University of Idaho marks this Military Appreciation Day, it does so humbly in memory of the lives that have been lost, of the hardships endured, and of noble service to country.

“We also envisioned bringing in veterans and recognizing them,” says Hunt.

Saturday, Sept. 10
Walk for the Warriors 2011
8 a.m. – noon
Chipman Trail
Corner of Perimeter Dr. and Highway 8
Come walk to show support for the brave military men and women. Walk for Warriors 2011 will travel along the Chipman Trail between Moscow and Pullman for a total of 15 miles. Participants can walk or run along the 15 mile trail for as far as they want to go. Walk for Warriors 2011 is sponsored by the Warrior’s Promise Foundation, which provides support with grass roots needs to include food; food vouchers; fuel; rent; mortgage; travel expenses to visit injured loved ones; need-based scholarships to the University of Idaho, Boise State and Washington State universities; service dog programs and care packages overseas. The Walk for Warriors 2011 is part of the Military Appreciation Day events.

Military Appreciation Day
ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center
1000 Stadium Dr. in Moscow
Military equipment and vehicles will be on display on the north field, as well as the Inland Cellular Money Machine. Military Appreciation Day is sponsored by Vandal Athletics, Inland Northwest Broadcasting, KLEW-TV, Pepsi and Inland Cellular. Sound system for this event is provided by Keeney Brother’s Music Center.This event is free and open to the public.

Veterans at the University of Idaho Care Package Drive
Noon – 2 p.m.
ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center, North Field
1000 Stadium Dr. in Moscow
The Veterans at the University of Idaho will be holding a care package drive to collect items to send to military personnel overseas. Items donated include baby wipes, sun block, aloe vera, chapstick, unscented tampons, phone calling cards, Kleenex, body soap, hand sanitizer, lotion, tooth paste and brushes, disposable razors, playing cards, hard candy, CDs, DVDs, books and magazines. Donations also can be dropped off at Safeway and Rosauer’s from 8-11 a.m. at the Nations Biodiesel van.

Idaho Football vs. University of North Dakota
2 p.m.
ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center
1000 Stadium Dr. in Moscow
Come cheer on the Vandal football team as they take on the University of North Dakota on Military Appreciation Day. Active duty personnel and veterans can receive a discounted tickets, for $10 a piece.To purchase tickets, contact the University of Idaho Ticket Office by phone at (208) 885-6466 or email tickets@uidaho.edu. For more information, visit www.govandals.com.

For more information about Military Appreciation Weekend, visit www.govandals.com.