Yale’s Veterans Day events to mark centennial of the end of World War I

The Yale Alumni War Memorial with a wreath laid at the base.
The Yale Alumni War Memorial on Veterans Day 2015. (Photo credit: Michael Marsland)

One hundred years ago, on November 11 — “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” — the Allies and Germany signed an armistice, ending their four-year war, a devastating conflict that had claimed 16 million lives and left more than 20 million wounded.

Yale students, alumni, and faculty were involved in the war from the beginning — forming the first naval aviation unit and mobile hospital, developing innovative surgery techniques to treat the wounded, pursuing war-related research, and fighting on its battlefields. For stories and videos about these initiatives, visit our In Focus page, “Yale remembers World War I.”

Yale will commemorate the centennial of Armistice Day with a week of music, ceremony, conversation, and an exhibition Nov. 11-17. All of the events are free and open to the public. See the World War I Armistice Centennial website for a complete schedule.

Yale Concert Band Veterans Day concert

The first of these activities will take place on the 100th anniversary of the signing of The Armistice — Sunday, Nov. 11 — when the Yale Concert Band presents a Veterans Day matinee celebrating both the centennial of the armistice and the 100th anniversary of the founding of Yale Bands

Veterans Day ceremony

The university’s annual Veterans Day Celebration will take place on Monday, Nov. 12, 12:30-1:30 p.m. in Battell Chapel, 400 College St. The program will feature remarks by President Peter Salovey and Hillary Browning ’19, a veteran and Eli Whitney student. During the ceremony, Tom Opladen, co-founder and former president of the Yale Veterans Association, will be presented with an award for his service to Yale veterans. The Yale Band Brass ensemble will perform the national anthem, taps, and all service anthems.

Talks and screening

During the following week, scholars from Yale and beyond will present talks exploring four aspects of World War I:

Tuesday, Nov. 13

Same-Sex Desire in WWI: a Masculine, Valorously Decorated LGBTQ+ Movement,” featuring Professors Sarah Cole (Columbia), Richard Kaye (Hunter College), James Najarian (Boston College). 5 p.m., Rm. 208 William L. Harkness Hall, 100 Wall St.

Thursday, Nov. 15

Lincoln’s Code: An Armistice Day Reflection on the Laws of War in American Life,” featuring Yale professor John Witt, the Allen H. Duffy Class of 1960 Professor of Law and professor of history. Noon, Rm. 129, Sterling Law Building, 127 Wall St.

Saturday, Nov. 17

Memorializing War: British and American Monuments to the Great War,” featuring Paul Kennedy, the J. Richardson Dilworth Professor of History and director of the International Security Studies Program. 1 p.m. Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall St.

The Literary Legacy of World War I: Screening of ‘Paths of Glory,’” featuring a post-screening conversation about how the novels and memoirs of WWI shaped the rest of war literature in the 20th century; speakers will be Jennifer Orth-Veillon, curator of the WWI Centennial Commission’s “The WWRite Blog: Exploring WWI’s Influence on Contemporary Writing and Scholarship”; Brianne Bilsky, assistant professor at the U.S. Military Academy, and Berkeley College residential dean; and Peter Molin, a former U.S. infantry officer who now teaches at Rutgers University. 2 p.m. Whitney Humanities Center.

Exhibition

The Yale Center for British Art is hosting the exhibition “An Indelible Mark: British Art of the First World War” through Sunday, Nov. 25. Featuring objects drawn from the center’s Prints & Drawings and Rare Books & Manuscripts collections, “An Indelible Mark” incorporates images made both at home and on the war front, showcasing a wide range of visual media produced by official war artists and amateurs alike. Learn more about the YCBA exhibition.

Part of the In Focus Collection: Yale remembers World War I

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