Today is Veterans Day.
It’s the day we honor our Veterans. The day we post inspiring thoughts and quotes about the country we love and those who fought for it on Facebook and Twitter. If we honor our Vets with free meals or dessert at restaurants for their service in the military and give a day off work for many others. But other than that, how much do we know about this holiday?
I had another blog ready for today, but as I sat with my husband last night, we started talking about some little known facts of this day and I thought it would be interesting and appropriate to post a few facts about this special day. There’s a whole generation out there that seems to have forgotten why we even celebrate this day.
Today I want to write this post in honor fo all those that served our country, but I especially want to honor those close to me:
My son Jacob, who served in the Air Force Intelligence.
My daughter Bethany, Who served three back to back tours in Iraq .
And my Father, who served in The Korean War. His is truly my hero.
Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919. Armistice Day was set on November 11th to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning – The eleventh of the eleventh day of the eleventh month (French time GMT +1) Although this was the designated time that armistice would begin, The Armistice itself was agreed 6 hours earlier at 5am with the first term of it being that fighting would end at 11am.
The signing of The Armistice took place in Ferdinand Foch’s railway carriage in the Forest of Compiègne, about 37 miles north of Paris. it was known as the Treaty of Versailles. This was the same railway carriage in the Forest of Compiègne that another treaty was signed, on November 11 21 years later, this time by force. Wilhelm Keitel, of the Third Reich and General Charles Huntziger of France met in this same railway carriage in the same forest. France signed an agreement to end fighting against Germany in World War Two, which was basically a French surrender in 1940. To add to the deliberate humiliation, Adolf Hitler sat in the same seat that Ferdinand Foch sat in in 1918.
Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. The original idea behind the celebrations for this holiday was not to have a whole day off, but that there would be parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of businesses at 11:00 AM.
In May 1938, the 11th of November was made a legal holiday, known as “Armistice Day”. The purpose was to honor the veterans of World War I.
During World War II, there was an effort by veterans and their families to honor them as well, so the name of “Armistice” was changed to “Veterans” on June 1, 1954, by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed by Congress, which moved the celebration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. The law went into effect in 1971, but in 1975 President Gerald Ford returned Veterans Day to its proper day of November 11, siting importance of the historical significance of this date.
Today we are again celebrating this significant holiday, but in the midst of the free meals, parades and time off work, let’s not forget the sacrifices of those that fought and died for this great country. Yes, there is a lot of turmoil and upset in the nation right now. I have to admit that I’m sick of all that’s going on and often try to avoid the news and media. But this day is bigger than all that. It’s bigger than The Right or The Left, Republican or Democrat. This day honors our heroes. This day is a day of respect for those who gave up years of their lives, and often life itself, to keep the rest of us safe.
I wish there was no war and I look forward to the day the war will finally end for eternity, but just for one day, could we lay all this aside and thank a Veteran? Thank the men and women of the military who gave up what they had to try and protect what we have?
Let’s take this day as more than a day off from our disagreements and instead, make it personal. Don’t just post a picture of The Flag with a nice historical quote, but instead, find a veteran and say a special and heartfelt “Thank you.”