Duty. Honor. Country.

The following article was originally published in the Deseret News on May 11, 2021.

Duty. Honor. Country.

These are the core values of the 251 men and women who have been honored for their military service by University of Utah over the past 23 years. Each year, the U recognizes 11 exemplary veterans or service members and one “Student Veteran of the Year” at a ceremony held on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Veterans Day.

“Bravery has no age limit, color restriction or gender requirement, and this is apparent in the veterans who the University of Utah is proud to honor each year,” stated the U’s Veterans Day Commemoration website. “While the faces, battle fronts and weapons may change, the resolute character and courage required of men and women who go to battle remain the same.”

Originally known in the United States as Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1918, was the day hostilities ceased and marked the end of World War I. It’s a day to celebrate and honor our living military veterans.

Today, the U’s Veterans Day Commemoration committee is searching for its 11 honorees for 2021 who will be recognized at a ceremony on the University of Utah campus and will receive a medallion. Nearly 100 cadets and midshipmen from the military ROTC programs are also present and the ceremony includes a 21-gun cannon salute.

“Believe me when I say the veterans we honor each year are truly extraordinary individuals and every single one of them would tell you, ‘I just did what anyone else would do in the same situation,’” said Paul Morgan, director of the University of Utah Veterans Support Center.

Nominations are now open and must be submitted by July 31, 2021. To nominate a veteran or service member, fill out the online form at veteransday.utah.edu.

Those nominated may have served or may currently serve in the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Space Force or National Guard; on active duty or the reserves; for any length of time; and in any location. The Veterans Day committee selects the honorees based on noteworthy honor, courage, commitment and sacrifice during their military service to the U.S., but decorations for valor are not required. Nominees do not have to be alumni or associated with the university.

“We absolutely know that all veterans are the epitome of selfless service to their country and are true heroes among us,” said Morgan. “Each year, it is a privilege and honor for the U to recognize some of our remarkable Utah veterans and tell their amazing stories.”

To be eligible for selection, nominees must meet the following criteria:

  • Currently reside in Utah
  • Have been honorably discharged or currently serving in the military
  • Be willing and able to talk about their military service

Because selections are based only on the nominee’s military service, it is important to provide as much detail regarding the nominee’s service in the military as possible.

Documentation is required to verify the nominee’s service and awards. Any additional supporting documentation is welcome. Please fill out the form completely, attaching additional documents as necessary at veteransday.utah.edu.

In addition to the 11 honorees, since 2011, the U also awards a Student Veteran of the Year. The recipient of this honor receives a cash stipend and a medallion honoring their military service and academic achievement.