ETSU gave veterans the respect they deserved on Veterans Day, inviting students to a 30-minute ceremony Monday honoring veterans and active servicemen.

Soldiers in uniform greeted men and women and held the door for them as they entered Brooks Gym, and the ETSU band performed several patriotic songs.

Four members from Rolling Thunder began the event. The organization’s president, Jeff Kilbourn, explained that the organization is designed to educate the public about the plight of homeless veterans. The number of homeless veterans in the U.S. is growing, and one of the organization’s goals is to help put a stop to it.

Kilbourne also performed roll call, calling out the number of soldiers who went missing in action from World War I to the Cold War. He concluded his speech with a very proud, and a very enthusiastic, “God bless our troops, and God bless the United States of America.”

Applause rang through the gym as he took his seat.

Mark Tipton, ETSU director of Veteran Affairs, gave a brief history of Veterans Day.

“Veterans Day was born after World War I,” he said. “The Armistice was signed on the eleventh day of the 11th hour of the 11th month.”

Tipton said Eisenhower officially changed the holiday’s date to Nov. 11 in 1954.

Jamie Morris, the president of Student Veterans of America, wanted to ensure that the audience was aware of what tools East Tennessee State University has for veterans.

ETSU offers many different services to help transition veterans back into civilian life, Morris said. “We have a duty to ourselves to continue our lives after serving.”

The ceremony concluded with ETSU ROTC bringing out a wreath to honor fallen soldiers.

After the event, the audience was given the opportunity to meet with some of the speakers and express gratitude to the various veterans in attendance.