Honoring Those Who Served
By the calendar, this Saturday is Veterans’ Day, a day in which we pay tribute to those who have served our nation in conflicts during our history, as well as those who paid the ultimate price to defend our freedoms and liberty.
The first observance of Veterans Day, or Armistice Day, occurred in 1926, eight years after the Armistice to end World War I was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. To commemorate the Armistice, the November 11th date was designated Armistice Day until 1954, when a National Holiday was established for Nov. 11, and the day was officially changed to Veterans Day to honor all United States military veterans.
To observe Veterans Day 2017, programs will be conducted in communities across the nation, including here in Emmetsburg. A program is set for Friday morning at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2295 in Emmetsburg, and observances will also take place in several area schools as well.
For those who enjoy facts and figures about events, here are some facts that may be little-known about Veterans Day.
Most importantly, regardless of the day of the week, Veterans Day is always observed on November 11, in recognition of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when the Armistice was signed. The date was chosen to commemorate World War I, which ended on November 11, 1918.
The Veterans Day holiday was originally known as Armistice Day, and was first established by Congress on June 4, 1926.
The meaning and purpose of Veterans Day and Memorial Day are often confused. The Memorial Day holiday at the end of May is intended to honor all military personnel who paid the ultimate price in the service of their country. The November Veterans Day observance is intended for honoring all men and women who have served honorably in military service during times of war and peace.
To go along with the holiday, here are some facts that apply to veterans of military service.
Currently, there are approximately 25 million living veterans of military service in our society.
Over 48 million men and women have served in a branch of the military in war and peacetime since the beginning of our country in 1776.
Every year, around 80,000 veterans of military service are buried in one of the National Cemetery system cemeteries, such as Arlington National Cemetery of the Fort Snelling National Cemetery.
The Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia is the perpetual resting place of more than 260,000 veterans. These veterans are from all of the nation’s wars – from the American Revolution through the Persian Gulf War and Somalia. Pre-Civil War dead were reinterred after 1900.
For those who fall in battle, the American Battle Monument Commission maintains a list honoring every American who has given their life in battle. The Battle Monument Commission maintains lists Includes lists from the Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, as well as the Persian Gulf War and related battles in the war against Terrorism.
Even as the harvest begins to wind down, and our thoughts turn to the upcoming holiday season, we must not forget those who have served our country in the past. They left their homes, their families and their friends to serve their country, as well as the freedoms that all of us continue to enjoy to this day.
To forget our veterans is not an oversight – it is a disrespect to those who left and never returned. We honor their memories on Memorial Day, but we should also remember them on Veterans Day as well.
If you are aware of a Veterans Day program in your area this weekend, make the time to attend the program and express your appreciation to those who have served our country and our communities over the years.
To our Veterans – We thank you for your service – and Bless you for your sacrifices.