Many American tend to think of Veterans Day as just another day off. Or, if you don't have a holiday, it may be just another day when the mail isn't delivered.
That's too bad, because it should be a day of reflection and thanks to the multitude of armed services veterans, and their families, who have kept our country "the land of the free, and the home of the brave."
Don't confuse it with Memorial Day, which honors those service men and women who have died in the service of their country. This day honors everyone who has served.
Nothing is easy when it involves the federal government.
US President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day for November 11, 1919, one year after the armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month and brought to a halt the actual fighting in WW I. The Treaty of Versailles was signed seven months later, June 28, 1919.
I was surprised to read that Congress didn't officially recognize the end of WW I until June 4, 1926. It's hard for me to envision signing the treaty without acknowledging the end of the war. However, in the same resolution, Congress requested President Coolidge to proclaim November 11 as a national holiday. This is the same day celebrated in other parts of the world as Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, Victory in Europe Day, and other names.
An act approved in May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November a legal federal holiday, known as "Armistice Day", dedicated to the veterans of WW I and the cause of world peace.
Something as non-partisan/non-controversial as this took almost ten years. No wonder we're in trouble.
Then, on June 1, 1954, Congress approved legislation changing the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day, a holiday which honors of the veterans of all wars, not just WW I, and celebrated on October 25. The first Veterans Day was celebrated on October 25, 1971. Confusion ensued.
No one was happy.
On September 20, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed a law which returned Veterans Day to the original date of November 11, beginning in 1978.
Sigh of relief. This pleased just about everyone, although I used to wonder why my employer gave us a union-negotiated holiday on October 25, when the official holiday was November 11. Now I understand.
Hopefully, everything is settled for a while. And it pleases me that Veterans Day hasn't been moved from the specific date. That's not an accident. The proponents wanted to preserve the significance of November 11 and to focus attention on the purpose of Veterans Day.
A TIME FOR REFLECTION AND THANKS
As Senator Mike Johanns said,
"Nothing we can do in Congress will ever fully return the favor of those who have given so much for America. But we must do all we can to honor them. All Americans share in the responsibility of caring for our veterans who have defended our freedom.
Fewer causes are so imperative or so noble. This Veterans Day, we remember the service to our brave men and women in uniform. We thank them for their sacrifice and for their service."
THANK YOU TO THOSE MEN AND WOMEN, AND THEIR FAMILIES, WHO HAVE SERVED IN THE PAST AND TO THOSE WHO CONTINUE TO SERVE AND PROTECT OUR FREEDOM!