"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Thank A Vet!

We all know Veteran's Day is approaching, and I am sure most of understand and celebrate the meaning behind Veteran's Day.

November 11, 1918, began the armistice - a temporary cessation of hostilities by mutual consent* - of World War I. It was the “truce" between the Allied nations and Germany which interestingly took place on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month. But the "Great War" (World War I) didn’t officially end until June 28, 1919.

Thus it was that President Woodrow Wilson in 1919, proclaimed November 11thas Armistice Day.
"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…"
However it wasn’t until June 4, 1926, that the date was officially and formally observed by the United States Congress:
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; and

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.
In 1938, the 11th of November became an annual,legal holiday known as "Armistice Day."

Though Armistice Day was originally enacted to honor veterans of World War I, after World War II, veterans groups urged Congress to include all veterans in this act. Therefore in 1954, the word "Armistice" was replaced with the word "Veterans” ensuring the inclusion of all vets. Officially, June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

Things get a bit convoluted when in 1968 a bill (The Uniform Holiday Bill) was signed to orchestrate a three day weekend for federal employees. Four national holidays were targeted now to be changed to Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day.

I remember the controversy this change created. Many thought (and I am one) the change would cause history to become distorted and the real meaning of the holiday to be changed or forgotten. Some states honored the change while some did not.

With this change, Veterans Day was celebrated on October 25th for the first time.  Because of the confusion the new date brought between the states there were  new, valid concerns. Some believed the original meaning of the 11th hour, the 11th day of the 11th month would now be forgotten.
Our battle-worn flag charges forward,    
thanks to those who have served.
Due to these concerns, President Gerald R. Ford signed law to return the observance of Veterans Day back to its original date of November 11, to begin in 1978. Ford found overwhelming favor among veterans and the majority of Americans with this law.

Veteran’s Day observance now coincides with the date in history it began, not only preserving the historical significance and meaning, but also allowing us to honor patriots of all war s who  fought and died to preserve our freedom.

Though I have a loved one who has served in each of the major wars, this year, I have chosen a photo to honor those form the Viet Nam War.
“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” – Billy Graham
 And that is only one of the reasons we need Veteran's Day.


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