Because the traditional Veterans Day observance falls on a Sunday this year, many of the usual programs, especially at schools, will be held Thursday, Friday or Monday. Others will be on Saturday.
This Veterans Day is special because it is the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. The armistice in World War I in 1918 came on the 11th hour and on the 11th day of the 11th month of the year. It was the war to end all wars, as the saying went, until World War II for the United States came Dec. 7, 1941.
To honor military veterans of World War I, the first Armistice Day was held in 1919. The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.
The respect paid to all military veterans of all wars has never been greater than it is today. We believe all World War I veterans have departed us, but there still are World War II veterans with us, although the number is shrinking by the day. That also is true of the Korean War veterans. The shooting in the Korean War ended July 27, 1953. The cease fire that occurred on that day still is in existence — no treaty has ever been signed.
The veterans’ service organizations, the two largest being The American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), have kept the memories of all wars alive while serving their communities in many civic and charitable ways.
The Vietnam War veterans deserve special recognition. It was an unpopular war, especially on the homefront, the draft was unfair, but the men and women who served answered their nation’s call and the sacrifices they and their families made were in the spirit of Americanism. They were treated with disrespect, which went against everything America is about. Their service stands as tall as any veteran’s of any war.
The schools that hold Veterans Day programs are to be complimented. Their programs teach American history. Veterans who attend appreciate the recognition and thanks that are given to them.
There are veterans who did not see combat. The combat warriors need support from those behind the front lines, whether in this country or overseas. They perform the duties assigned to them. They are as necessary as the front line troops.
Anybody who serves or served in the military makes a sacrifice. That is what Veterans Day is all about — recognizing sacrifices made to preserve our freedoms.