By Edward Oliver
Veterans Day is an official United States holiday that honors people who have served in the United States Armed Forces.
World War I, also known as The Great War that was supposed to end all wars, ended when major hostilities ceased at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the armistice with Germany went into effect.
U. S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed November 11, 1919, as the first celebration of Armistice Day (as it was then called) to be an official holiday in the United States. When he signed the proclamation, President Wilson said “to us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with the 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.” The original concept for the celebration was for a day to be observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business, beginning at 11:00 a.m. on each November 11.
The United States Congress official recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words: “Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through goodwill and mutual understanding between nations, and whereas the legislatives of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday. Therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other people.”
An act (52 Statute 351; 5 U. S. Code, Section 87a) approved May 13, 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 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen in the Nation’s history, after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “armistice” and inserting in its place the word “veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) signed by President Dwight Eisenhower on June 1, 1954, November 11 became the day to honor American veterans of all wars.
Veterans from all wars, from the Revolutionary War and those since, are found buried in this area. All should be remembered for doing their part in giving us the freedoms and protecting the continuation of the freedoms we enjoy in this country.
The United States of America was established upon the principle of freedom, equality, justice and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
We should salute each and every one of our veterans because they served our country with so much pride in a very special way. Especially, we should salute the few surviving World War II veterans who are still living in our community.
If any veteran would like to tell me their story of service or if a family member would like to tell the story, please contact me. I’m sure others in this area would like to read about their experiences while in service and after they returned home.
If any reader has any information about or pictures of the Villagers’ Voice service area to share with the readers of these articles, please contact me at Edward Oliver, P. O. Box 456, Norris City, IL 62869, telephone 618-378-3176, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.