“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” (John F. Kennedy)
By Kevin Devlin
World War I, also known as “The Great War” and “the war to end all wars” ended on November 11, 1918. The following year in November, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11, 1919, as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.
“To us in America,” he said, “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 council of nations.”
In May of 1938, Congress passes an act that made the 11th of November of each year a legal holiday “dedicated to the cause of world peace and thereafter celebrated…to honor veterans of World War I.” In 1954, after World War II, the 83rd Congress amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and replacing it with the word “Veterans.” The legislation passed on June 4, 1954, became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
In 1968, Congress passed the Monday Holiday Law which established the fourth Monday in October as the new date for Veterans Day. Based on popular support, in 1975, new legislation was adopted to revert back to the November 11th date. This took effect in 1978. Now Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, no matter what day of the week in which it falls.
President Abraham Lincoln said that “…A nation that does not honor its heroes, will not long endure.”
This Friday, November 11, Americans will honor all Veterans who have served in our Armed Forces. We must never forget Lincoln’s words and never forget our veterans who deserve our respect and admiration. It’s a day to thank them for keeping us safe and preserving our freedom. It’s a day to thank them for their heroism and unselfishness. And it’s a day to thank them for their love of country.
If you know a veteran, make it a point to contact him or her and thank them for everything they’ve done for us.
It’s the least we can do.