Many feel the Veterans Day Holiday is nothing more than another lengthy weekend opportunity for family picnics and shopping, and few recall it’s actually the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice, which ended World War I hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany in 1918.
Traditionally on this day we thank our Veterans for their service and mark the occasion with a day “filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died and with gratitude for the victory”. We host parades and religious services to pay tribute, and throughout the country the American flag is hung at half mast with a period of silence observed. While some schools are closed, others are not, but choose to mark the occasion with special assemblies or other such activities.
But what’s it really all about, Honor, Duty, and Country?
Some historians argue that the armistice between Germany and the Allied nations signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 represented a pivotal point in world history. But while initially recognized as Armistice Day to honor veterans of World War I, it was changed in 1954 to “Veterans Day” to honor all American veterans. While there were attempts to move its observance to the fourth Monday of October, due to the confusion caused by this, from 1978 on it remained observed on November 11th.
Regardless of when we observe it, and despite anyone’s political, personal, or religious point of view,the moral fiber of our nation is deeply embedded in this tradition, and in remembering that Veterans Day isn’t about a lengthy weekend or fabulous shopping spree, but rather a day to commemorate and honor all Americans who have served our great nation.
Yes, families will visit cemeteries and memorials, and volunteers will place American flags on graves in our national cemeteries, and some will travel hundreds of miles to gather and renew family ties. There’ll be religious services and pot luck meals, parades, and speeches, and at the end of the day we’ll bow our heads for a moment of silence, in honor and memory of those who stood in harm’s way and gave of their lives to defend what we hold so dear to our hearts…our FREEDOM!
But is this really enough, or can we play a more vital role?
There are many other ways to express our support and unselfish generosity. In fact there are several charities focused on everything from veteran’s assistance to more targeted organizations. But if you’re truly interested in supporting our veterans and servicemen and women, there’s several good places to start: Disabled American Veterans(DAV), Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), Home’s for Our Troops, The USO, and Operation Write Home.
All of these programs offer a variety of services to our active-duty soldiers and veterans and their families. And since most receive very limited government funding (if at all), donations and gifts are crucial to keeping them alive. Just keep in mind that the willingness to share unselfishly will help scores of veterans accomplish their goals. So, should you wish to confer more than thoughtful consideration…go ahead and reach out and touch someone …they’ll thank you for thinking of them in the end.
Above all else, never forget the sacrifices they’ve made and continue to make on your behalf!
God Bless America!
Article by Rich Danley, SGAUS – November 09th, 2013