Monday, November 12, 2007

Veterans Day 2007

By Tony Vega for
Sunday 11 November 2007

In 1921, an unknown World War I American soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. This site, on a hillside overlooking the Potomac River and the city of Washington, D.C., became the focal point of reverence for America’s veterans.
Similar ceremonies occurred earlier in England and France, where an unknown soldier was buried in each nation’s highest place of honor (in England, Westminster Abbey; in France, the Arc de Triomphe). These memorial gestures all took place on November 11, giving universal recognition to the celebrated ending of World War I fighting at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). The day became known as “Armistice Day.”

Armistice Day officially received its name in America in 1926 through a Congressional resolution. It became a national holiday 12 years later by similar Congressional action. If the idealistic hope had been realized that World War I was “the War to end all wars,” November 11 might still be called Armistice Day. But only a few years after the holiday was proclaimed, war broke out in Europe. Sixteen and one-half million Americans took part. Four hundred seven thousand of them died in service, more than 292,000 in battle.

Armistice Day Changed To Honor All Veterans
The first celebration using the term Veterans Day occurred in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1947. Raymond Weeks, a World War II veteran, organized "National Veterans Day," which included a parade and other festivities, to honor all veterans. The event was held on November 11, then designated Armistice Day. Later, U.S. Representative Edward Rees of Kansas proposed a bill that would change Armistice Day to Veterans Day. In 1954, Congress passed the bill that President Eisenhower signed proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day. Raymond Weeks received the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Reagan in November 1982. Weeks' local parade and ceremonies are now an annual event celebrated nationwide. -source VA

Present day 2007, our military are engaged in an unprecedented military action across the globe in a war against terror. As in most conflicts past or present, Americans express their views pro or con in a variety of ways. You may do so in a boisterous, mild, or indifferent manner, just remember it is our veterans that are valiantly protecting your right to do just that.

Perhaps on Veterans Day, we can cease the rhetoric long enough to take pause and honor the men and women in uniform that are serving and have served, not only those that died- but the living soldiers as well. That’s what Veterans Day is about, to thank our veterans, to show our gratitude without prejudice for their honorable service in keeping America free.


If you’re reading this thank a teacher, if you’re reading this in English thank a soldier.

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