Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Veteran’s Day

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

A bit of Veteran’s Day history . . .

In 1918, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month, the world rejoiced and celebrated. After four years of bitter war, an armistice was signed. At that time the war was called The Great War, or The War to End All Wars. The armistice between the Allied nations and the Central Powers went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year 1918.

November 11, 1919 was set aside as Armistice Day in the United States, to remember the sacrifices that men and women made during World War I in order to ensure a lasting peace. On Armistice Day, soldiers who survived the war marched in a parade through their home towns. Politicians and veteran officers gave speeches and held ceremonies of thanks for the peace they had won.

Congress voted Armistice Day a federal holiday in 1938, 20 years after the war ended. But Americans realized that the previous war would not be the last one. After the Second World War, Armistice Day continued to be observed on November 11.

After World War II and the Korean War, in 1953 townspeople in Emporia, Kansas called the holiday Veterans’ Day in gratitude to the veterans in their town. Soon after, Congress passed a bill introduced by a Kansas congressman renaming the federal holiday to Veterans’ Day. This day marked the beginning of the tradition of honoring all those Americans who participated in various wars for the United States, and not just the World War I veterans alone.

Though it was initially decided that the 11th day of the 11th month of every year will be observed as the Veterans Day, in 1971 under President Nixon, the day was shifted to fourth Monday of the October month. As per the new change, the Veterans Day was celebrated on 25th October in 1971. This change, however, resulted in great deal of confusion, and eventually Veterans Day was shifted back to 11th November in 1978. In 2001,

Today as we celebrate Veterans Day and the men and women who bravely served our great nation, we remember those soldiers still serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Veterans Day is set aside to remember and honor the bravery of our men and women in uniform, but it’s something we as Americans should try to do everyday.

Consider this statistic as you observe Veteran’s Day — between Sept. 9 and Oct. 29 of this year, the Department of Defense announced the deaths of 87 men and women while serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. During that same period, we have heard plenty of talk about celebrity divorces and scandals, but how much did we hear about these 87 brave Americans?

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