Armistice Day: The 11-11-11 Edition

Posted: November 11, 2011 in Uncategorized
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“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.” ~ President Woodrow Wilson

President Woodrow Wilson made that speech on the 11th of November, 1919 proclaiming the national American holiday of Armistice Day.

The United States Congress passed a concurrent resolution seven years later on 4th of June, 1926, requesting that the President Calvin Coolidge issue another proclamation to observe 11th of November with appropriate ceremonies.

An Act approved the 13th of May, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday; “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.”

In 1953, an Emporia, Kansas man named Alvin King the owner of a shoe repair shop, had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who died in World War I. King had been actively involved with the American War Dads during World War II. He began a campaign to turn Armistice Day into “All” Veterans Day.

The Emporia Chamber of Commerce took up the cause after determining that 90% of Emporia merchants as well as the Board of Education supported closing their doors on the 11th of November to honor all veterans. With the help of U.S. Representative Ed Rees, also from Emporia, a bill for the holiday was pushed through Congress. President Dwight Eisenhower signed it into law on 26th of May, 1954.

Congress amended this act on first of June, 1954, replacing “Armistice” with “Veterans,” and it has been known as Veterans Day since.

Although originally scheduled for celebration on the 11th of November of every year, starting in 1971 in accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October. In 1978, it was moved back to its original celebration on the 11th of November.

Today in 2011, I met not just one but TWO veterans of World War II. I was amazed and honored to have been able to talk with them. For as brief as it may have been.

Seventy years ago, the United States the second World War and with both cases of talking with these great men, I wondered how old they were. I did some looking and found out that in the United States, there are less than 2 million veterans alive today. The statistics were showing that almost 1,000 veterans of World War II die each day. In less than fifteen years, all American veterans of World War II will be gone.

Another fascinating fact was that the very last American veteran of World War I was Frank Buckles.

Frank Buckles had died only this past February at the age of 110 years, and 26 days. He enlisted and joined the war at the age of 16, driving motorcycles and other vehicles back and forth to the front lines of the war.

The two men that I spoke to had to have been at least 80 or 90 years old. It was incredible. I gave them a salute and shook their hands.

I am glad that we have the holiday of Veteran’s Day. I think that it really something that is needed. The only other holiday that possibly relates to our veterans and our troops in active duty, would be Independence Day.

But I personally believe that we should honor and remember with respect those who fought for our freedoms and liberty, and do so every day. Not just twice a year.

I have and I have had several members of family that served in the military. Including my very own younger brother who has been through conflict in southern Europe and the Middle East. I am proud of him, proud of my family, and proud of those who fought and died, and those who still live to fight another day so that I can appreciate and enjoy my life as it is today.

The rest of the world, especially in Europe still celebrates the end of World War I as Armistice Day. I think that is really awesome. It is a bit different than what is celebrated in the United States but from what I understand, not by much.

I hope for most of you who are reading this did give thanks to our nation’s veterans. Without them, our way of living could be different in so many ways. The comforts and grand opportunities that we enjoy, could possibly be non-existing without them. They’ve paid for it, we enjoy it.

Happy Veteran’s Day… or Armistice Day to everyone across the world!!!!

 

 

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