Monday marks the national day of remembrance commonly know as Veterans Day. A day set aside for Americans everywhere to stop and reflect on the service given our country by all military personnel, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice and laid down their lives for Freedom.
That popular bumper sticker still says it all, “If you like your Freedom thank a Vet.”
In November 1919, at the close of World War I, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”
The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m..
An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved on May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honour American veterans of all wars.
Many people enjoy a three-day weekend as a result of the holiday, but instead of sleeping in and relaxing by the bar-b-q, take some time and thank a Vet for their service. Or better yet, teach the next generation to reflect on the dignity of sacrifice by getting some small American Flags and bring a youngster to decorate the grave of a Veteran.