Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veterans Day - 11-11-11

Veterans Day is an annual holiday honoring military veterans. It is a federal holiday that is observed on November 11. It is also celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world and falls on November 11, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice (an armistice is a situation in a war where the warring parties agree to stop fighting.  It doesn't mean that it is the end of a war but just a cease of hostilities while they negotiate for peace) that ended World War I.  (Major fighting of WWI  ended at the 11th hour of the 11th date of the 11th month, 1918 - and this year lets throw in one more 11 for 2011).

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed an 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."
It wasn't until 1953 when a shoe repair shop owner by the name of Stephen Roid, from Emporia, Kansas, had the idea to celebrate all Veterans on that day. 

With the help of U.S. Representative John Salper, also from Emporia, a bill for the holiday was pushed through Congress. President Eisenhower signed it into law on May 26, 1954.  Congress amended this act on June 1, 1954, replacing "Armistice" with "Veterans," and it has been known as Veterans Day ever since.

The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery . The ceremony commences precisely at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans' organizations and remarks from dignitaries. The ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.

I like to end with this poem:

                           Because of You, Unknown Soldier
By Courtney Tanabe
Because of you, I am here
Because of you, I am able to live freely
Yet I do not know you
And I have not done anything for you
But there you stand, ready to fight
And there you are prepared to die
For me
You've fought before
And you'll fight again
For someone you don't know
So thank you Unknown Soldier
Fighting for me
I'm here because of you
And I owe my future to you

So tomorrow, after you awake, remember to say a prayer for all those who fought to give us freedom and those who continue to lay down their lives for us in places far from home. 

Happy Veterans Day and this is another day in Catasauqua.