Veterans Day is a state and federal holiday, with banks, post offices, and schools being closed. How many people that take advantage of the day off realize the meaning of the day, and why it is celebrated? Many youngsters today could teach us a thing or two about it, because their parents are in the military, and they know what it’s like to have a mom or dad come home. All our children should understand what this important day stands for.
Originally known as Armistice Day, it was set aside as a day to honor the military servicemen who fought so valiantly in World War I. Here is part of a resolution made by Congress on June 4, 1926:
“Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations;”
At the time this was written, WWI was called “the end of the war to end all wars”. In 1938, Congress made Armistice Day a legal holiday. Then World War II was declared, which required the greatest mobilization of military in our history. Next, we entered the Korean War. The name was changed in 1954 to Veterans Day in order to honor veterans of all wars we have been engaged in. Since then, we have been engaged in the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, Desert Shield, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Let’s hope this is the last one.
Those of us who have not experienced war first-hand, can only empathize with those who have, whose eyes fill up with tears, thinking of the memories of comrades in arms that they lost. We can’t imagine the post-traumatic syndrome that many of them suffer. Any chance that you have to thank a veteran will be appreciated. A note or email to someone you know who has served would tell them you are grateful for the safety they have provided our country. Fly your flag to honor them.
Veterans Day focuses attention to its important purpose: a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. We owe a huge debt to all the brave men and women who have fought so courageously. Let’s hope someday, somehow, they will be able to serve our country in a safer, more peaceful world.
Source: US Department of Veterans Affairs