Stop and honor our veterans on November 11.
November is a notable month. Here at SunBird, all our winter friends have mostly arrived. We are getting ready for the Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas is getting close.
When a young boy I would stand and watch the Armistice Day parade go by; there were still several Civil War veterans marching. Now those from WW I have all disappeared and soon many of us will live to witness the day when all from WW II have left us.
Just a few years ago, SunBird had many WW II veterans rise when their service was called at our ceremony. Last year very few were still with us.
World War II saw the greatest mobilization of the US Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force in the nation’s history. More than 16 million people served in that war (1941-1945). The statistics indicate 495 of these veterans are dying each day. In September 2014 only 1,017,208 remained alive.
In the Korean War (1950-1953) some 5.7 million served.
An important United States Federal holiday is held each year on November 11. Veterans Day (previously called Armistice Day) honors all who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. It first marked the end of World War I, otherwise called The Great War.
That war officially concluded at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.
When President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day for November 11, 1919, he said, “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.”
Raymond Weeks from Birmingham, Alabama, in 1945 felt the day should honor all veterans, not just those who perished in WW I. The President made this official and honored Weeks at the White House until his death in 1985. Weeks is known as Father of Veterans Day.
On this federal holiday, some workers and many students have the day off. Non-essential federal government offices (doesn’t that include all of them?) are closed. No mail is delivered. All federal workers receive holiday pay as well as their normal salary.
Red poppies are sold in the United States and Canada to raise money for veterans. The red poppies idea came when they were mentioned in a poem, In Flanders Field by John McCrae.
In 1921 an unidentified American soldier of World War I was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The same day unidentified soldiers were buried in Westminster Abby in London and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
Official wreath-laying ceremony is held each Veterans Day at the Tomb of the Unknowns in the National Cemetery.
Take time to pause and reflect on the unselfish, dedicated service our men and women have given to protect us and our freedom. Honoring them with ceremonies and our thanks hardly seems enough.