Honoring our veterans and military personnel (Part I)

November 11, 2021

Veterans Day – November 11, 2021

On November 11, 2021 our nation will honor the men and women who have served and are serving our country. How did Veterans Day come about? The U.S. Library of Congress indicates: The Allied powers signed a ceasefire agreement with Germany at Compiegne, France, at 11:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918 bringing the war now known as World War I to a close. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day for November 11, 1919. In proclaiming the holiday, he said:

“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.”

Originally, the celebration included parades and public meetings following a two-minute suspension of business at 11:00 a.m. (1)

In 1938, a Congressional Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U.S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved 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.”

In 1945, World War II veteran Raymond Weeks from Birmingham, AL, had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who died in World War I. Weeks led a delegation to Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, who supported the idea of National Veterans Day. Weeks led the first national celebration parade in 1947 in Alabama and annually until his death in 1985. President Reagan honored Weeks at the White House with the Presidential Citizenship Medal in 1982 as the driving force for the national holiday. Elizabeth Dole, who prepared the briefing for President Reagan, determined Weeks as the “Father of Veterans Day.”

U.S. Representative Ed Rees from Emporia, KS, presented a bill establishing the holiday through Congress. President Dwight Eisenhower, also from Kansas, signed the bill into law May 26, 1954. Congress amended this act on June 1, 1954, replacing “Armistice” with “Veterans,” and it has been known as Veterans Day since.

Great Britain, France, Australia and Canada also commemorate the veterans of World Wars I and II on or near November 11th; Canada has Remembrance Day, while Britain has Remembrance Sunday. In Europe, Great Britain and the Commonwealth countries it is common to observe two minutes of silence at 11:00 a.m., every November 11th. (2)

Beloved, Nathan Hale, an American soldier, famous words are that he regretted he had “but one life to lose for my country.” Thursday, November 11, 2021 is observed as Veterans Day. Thank and honor our veterans and military personnel who have served and are serving our country and for their tireless and sacrificial service to the United States of America.

May God Bless Our Veterans!

We Are Sincerely Grateful and Thank You for Your Service and Sacrifice

Sources:

1 United States Library of Congress, “Today In History – November 11” at: https://www.loc.gov/item/today-in-history/november-11/.

2 History.com Editors, “Veterans Day 2021”, Updated Apr. 27, 2021, at: https://www.history. com/topics/holidays/history-of-veterans-day.

Next Week: Honoring Our Veterans and Military Personnel (Part II)

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