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Giant "I" Marks Start of UI Veterans Day Celebration

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IOWA CITY, Iowa - On the west lawn of the University of Iowa Pentacrest, a giant letter "I" signifies not only the sacrifices, but also a celebration, of veterans.

"We made about 6,000, and we did everything from the tags to the tying of the double knots with the ribbon," said Allen Roberts, Military & Veteran Education Specialist.

Roberts, an organizer for this year's Veterans Day celebration on campus, wanted to return the holiday to its roots.

"I found it was always somber and it was a sad memorial to those who've fallen, and I thought, we already have a holiday like that: Memorial Day. That's when we celebrate the fallen and remember their lives, so I wanted an event for veterans who are alive and thriving," Roberts explained.

Michael Considine, UI Veterans Association President, said every flag here is dedicated to a veteran tied to the University of Iowa in some way.

"Whether it's through knowing faculty and staff or being faculty and staff, or being students," Considine said.

But even with the large number of veterans on the UI campus - about 650 students and 800 faculty and staff - Roberts and Considine want this year's celebration to bring some visibility to veterans.

So, they'll also wear Hawaiian shirts that you can't miss.

"It shows that veterans are all over this campus," Considine told us.

After this "I" is done, people can come pick up their flags. Anything left over, Considine said, can be used in next year's design.

"We were thinking the tigerhawk," Considine said, even as the group struggled a bit with getting every row of flags perfectly straight.

"I don't know," replied Roberts. "Sounds a little optimistic to me."

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