Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy Veterans Day!

As we observe Veterans Day on Friday, November 11, 2011, let’s take a minute to understand why this day is observed and who it is we are honoring.

A gentleman by the name of Raymond Weeks organized a parade in the city of Birmingham, Alabama to honor all American Veterans for their service. The parade was held on November 11, 1947. Later on, US Representative Edward H. Rees of Kansas proposed legislation that would change the name of Armistice Day to Veterans Day to honor all who have served in the United States Armed Forces.

In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming that November 11th would be Veterans Day. He asked all Americans to rededicate themselves to the cause of peace. Issuing a presidential order, Eisenhower directed the Department of Veterans Affairs to form a Veterans Day National Committee to organize and oversee the national observance of Veterans Day.

In 1968, Congress moved Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. However, November 11th was historically significant to many Americans. Therefore, in 1978, Congress formally returned the observance to November 11th.

Every year on November 11th at 11am in Arlington National Cemetery, a color guard, which is comprised of a member from each branch of the military, renders honors to American’s who died in service during a tradition-rich ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Either the President or his representative places a wreath at the Tomb and a bugler plays “Taps”. The remainder of the ceremony takes place inside the Memorial Amphitheatre which is adjacent to the Tomb. Included in the ceremony is a parade of flags by members of various Veterans service organizations.

Some people ask what’s the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day? Memorial Day was set aside to honor those veterans who died in battle or as a result of battle-sustained injuries. Veterans Day is intended to thank and honor all who have served in the military, not only those who have died. Veterans Day aims to show appreciation to all veterans who have sacrificed and done their duty to their country.

Happy Veterans Day! Thank you, Veterans, for all that you have done for us!

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