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Military > Veterans Day
|Veterans Day 2009|
Posted: November 11, 2009 - 23:44 CT
Another Veteran’s Day has come and gone. We witnessed the usual celebrations, photo-ops for the politicians, and slanted coverage by the media. I believe one of the reasons for the poor support of veterans is that so few officials in Washington these days have served in our armed forces. A generation or two ago, most members of congress had served in a branch of our military. Now, both the house and senate are made up of career politicians in which only a small percentage have served their country in a military capacity. I’m certainly not suggesting that we need more senators like John Kerry or John Murtha, but as a whole, I’d like to see more veterans enter politics.
That said, this day is not about those who pretend to support our troops during election season, or when the cameras are rolling, but about the dedicated troops themselves, to whom we owe a great debt of gratitude for the freedoms we enjoy in our country today.
For those unfamiliar with the history of this holiday, we offer this brief summary. World War I combat between the Allies and Germany ended with an armistice which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 (the war officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles). Thus, November 11 became officially known as Armistice Day in 1926 and became a national holiday in 1938.
The first parade to honor all of America’s war veterans was held in Birmingham, Alabama, organized by Raymond Weeks in 1947. In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a bill, proposed by US Representative Edward Rees of Kansas, changing the holiday’s name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day to honor all who have served in America’s Armed Forces. He also issued a Presidential Order directing the head of the Veterans Administration, now the Department of Veterans Affairs, to form a Veterans Day National Committee to organize and oversee the national observance of Veterans Day.
In 1968, new legislation changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became apparent however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans. Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date.
The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery. At 11 am, a color guard, made up of members from each of the military services, renders honors to America's war dead during a tradition-rich ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. The President or his representative places a wreath at the Tomb and a bugler sounds "Taps". The balance of the ceremony, including a "Parade of Flags" by numerous Veterans service organizations, takes place inside the Memorial Amphitheater adjacent to the Tomb.
As proud parents of a US Marine currently in California awaiting deployment, we’d like to salute all our brave troops, past and present. While we should honor these patriots every day, Veteran’s Day is an opportunity to pay special tribute to these men and women in uniform. It is also great day to educate our children on the subject. As more and more of our religious and patriotic heritage is being scrubbed from our history books in the name of diversity and tolerance, we must never forget the sacrifices of those who have gone before.
Above all, it is simply a day to tell each veteran “Thank You and God Bless”.