Salute To Our VeteransVeterans Day November 11

Published on Thu, Nov 6, 2003
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Salute To Our Veterans
Veterans Day November 11

Veterans Day History
In 1921, an unknown World War I American soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Similar ceremonies occurred earlier in England and France, where an unknown soldier was buried in each nation�s highest place of honor (in England, Westminster Abbey; in France, the Arc de Triomphe). These memorial gestures all took place on November 11, giving universal recognition to the celebrated ending of World War I fighting at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). The day became known as Armistice Day.

Armistice Day officially received its name in America in 1926 through a Congressional resolution. It became a national holiday 12 years later by similar Congressional action. A few years after the holiday was proclaimed, war broke out in Europe and 407,000 of them died in service, more than 292,000 in battle.

An answer to the question of how to pay tribute to those who had served in this latest, great war came in a proposal made by Representative Edwin K. Rees of Kansas: change Armistice Day to Veterans Day, and make it an occasion to honor those who have served America in all wars. In 1954 President Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day.

On Memorial Day 1958, two more unidentified dead Americans were brought from overseas and interred in the plaza beside the unknown soldier of World War I. One was killed in World War II, the other in the Korean War. In 1973, a law passed providing interment of an unknown American from the Vietnam War, but none was found for several years. In 1984, an unknown serviceman from that conflict was placed alongside the others. To honor these men, symbolic of all Americans who gave their lives in all wars, an Army honor guard, the 3rd U.S. Infantry (the Old Guard), keeps day and night vigil.

A law passed in 1968 changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans. Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date.

Send a greeting
Anyone who wants to use today�s computer technology to say �thank you� to a favorite veteran can log on to www.legion.org and send an electronic Veterans Day greeting card. Each card provides plenty of space to compose a personal message. Cards may be sent now through November 12. Greeting cards may be sent to active duty service men and woman also if their military e-mail addresses are known. The 2.8 million member American Legion is the nation�s largest veterans organization.

Listen to a veteran
Three Bellingham peace organizations are sponsoring a talk by Vietnam veteran, Brian Willson, entitled, �Waging Unconditional Peace.� The event takes place on the eve of Veterans Day, Monday, November 10 at 7 p.m. at Western Washington University�s Arntzen Hall 100. Brian was an Air Force officer and leader of a combat security unit in Vietnam and lost both his legs, but fought and won the battle for his life. This event is free and open to the public.

Our Veterans
Let our banner
Proudly wave
O�er our men
And women, brave
Who for our country�s
Freedom gave
Their time and lives
That we be saved

Some wore blue
And some wore gray
Some wear Camouflage today
From flintlocks then
To missiles now
We owe them all
A respectful bow
What matters most
To you and me
Is thanks to them
We all are free

The United States wore gray in the War of 1812, the U.S. Military Academy still does. There also was a unit, �the Washington Grays,� in the Union Army during the early years of the Civil War. Those who wish to honor the confederacy may do so; however, my people were northerners through and through.
�George Tranberg

In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still singing bravely, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead.
Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
�John McCrae

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