Happy Veteran’s Day! Or perhaps, Thankful For Our Veteran’s Day! However you want to say it, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month has been a significant day in United States history since 1918, which marked the armistice ending the fighting in “the war to end all wars”, World War I. November 11, 1919 was the first Armistice Day, and in the words of President Woodrow Wilson, ”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…”
Over the course of our history, after other treacherous wars were fought by so many service men and women to preserve and enhance our free nation, this day became known as Veteran’s Day. Legislation was passed on June 1, 1954 to make November 11th a day to honor American veterans of all wars, then on October 8th of that same year President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first Veteran’s Day proclamation which stated, “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose.” He then designated the offices and personnel that would coordinate and organize proper observance on a national level.
On June 28, 1968 the Uniform Holiday Bill was passed, and it was designed to ensure three day weekends for federal employees for four national holidays, Veteran’s Day being one of those. It was thought that these long weekends would encourage travel and spending, therefor boosting the nation’s economy. However, some states did not agree, and thus continued to celebrate those four holidays on their originally appointed date. So in 1978 it was decided that the observance of Veteran’s Day would be restored to November 11, preserving it’s historical significance, and reiterating it’s important purpose- to honor American veteran’s for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
Today’s history lesson is brought to you by me, to serve as a reminder to all of how this holiday began, what it means, and why we should be honoring all men and women who have served and are currently serving our great nation. You see, whether our veterans served in battle, trained military personnel, or served in other capacities to enhance our military and provide for our country, they all signed up to serve and protect, no matter the cost. They were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country, our country. In these trying times in the United States of America, during times of such division and turmoil, it is so important to remember that we as a nation have fought long and hard to enjoy the freedoms we enjoy. And it’s even more important to honor those who have volunteered to be on the front lines standing up for this country we love, and for the ideals we as a christian based nation were founded on.
So let me ask. Do your children truly understand the meaning and historical significance of Veteran’s Day? Can anyone explain to me why our children devote so much time to learning about a historical figure such as Martin Luther King but spend no time honoring our veterans? They actually have Martin Luther King Day off of school, but not President’s Day, or Veteran’s Day. Am I the only one who has an issue with that? Not that I want them to be off school another day, but how is it decided which federal holidays and which historical figures deserve observance with suspending learning entirely after a month long celebration and education, and which ones are briefly mentioned in passing? The original concept for Veteran’s Day was a day of parades and public meetings, and a brief suspension of business at 11:00am. In 1926 Congress passed a concurrent resolution with these words (just a partial clip) “…inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.” Maybe I’m way off base here, but I just feel Veteran’s Day is of significant importance to the entire foundation of our nation, and should be honored as such.
Last year Bella’s school did a wonderful program honoring veteran’s in general, and encouraging the student’s pride in their families’ veterans. The kids gathered the names, branches, and ranks of family members who had served or are currently serving and were introduced with them, if possible, and some of the parent veteran’s stood up and spoke to the children about their service. It was a wonderful tribute. This year they eliminated the program all together. They did have the students turn in the names of veterans and active military personnel in their families so they could honor them on a wall dedicated to Veteran’s Day. But I suppose an hour of the “common core curriculum” learning time just couldn’t be afforded. After all, how will these 5-10 year old children ever be ready for the rigorous academics of the universities if they give up their math and reading time for such minutia as honoring fellow humans who have paved the way for their futures?
On that note, let me close with a heartfelt thank you to my husband, my grandfather, my cousin, and my other family members and friends who have shown their love of country and willingness to sacrifice by serving in the military of the United States of America!