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Remember Veterans Day
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Dear Editor:
Veterans Day originally was observed as Armistice Day, which marked the end of what was up to then the bloodiest war on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
The Nov. 11 in 1918 that silenced the guns of World War I was a hallowed day that the world’s suffering masses prayed would usher in a new era of freedom, peace and hope for their children and their children’s children.
For four brutal, bloody years that first great war ground on. By the time it was over there had been more than 37 million military casualties and untold millions of civilian deaths due to military action, starvation or disease.
For the world’s oppressed, American idealism, industrial might and the boundless enthusiasm of the American youth who took up arms seemed to make it worthwhile.
President Woodrow Wilson’s pledge of self-determination for people enabled millions in Europe to throw off the yoke of foreign rule.
If the dreams of mankind for a better world remained only partly fulfilled, it was not the fault of the men who fought that war. The idealism they exemplified was the one of humanity’s finest expressions.
That is the legacy the men who left their homes to fight in foreign lands -- some never to return, many to come home helpless invalids and cripples for as long as they lived -- have bequeathed the generations that followed.
That is what the date of Nov. 11 means.
President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Nov. 11 in 1918 when he recalled the sacrifices made for freedom.
Then in 1921, the body of the Unknown soldier, chosen in France in a moment of extreme reverence by Sgt. Edward F. Younger, was brought home and lay in state in the capitol Rotunda until Nov. 11 when it was lowered into the tomb of Arlington at 11 a.m.
President Warren G. Harding had asked all Americans to fly their flags at half-staff.
In 1927, Congress called upon president Calvin Coolidge to order flags on government buildings to be displayed on Nov. 11 and the American people to observe the day with ceremonies stressing peace and friendly relations with the world’s peoples.
In 1938, when clouds were gathering again, President Franklin D. Roosevelt made Nov. 11 a legal holidayin the District of Columbia and
Congress set aside Nov. 11 as Armistice Day, “dedicated to the cause of world peace.”
In 1954, with the end of fighting in Korea, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who led the Allied Forces to victory in Europe in World War
II, signed legislation changing Armistice Day to veterans Day in recognition of all who had fought in America’s wars.
Congress passed a law in 1968 that changed the date to the fourth Monday in October.
The American people rejected that idea, perhaps fearing that the meaning of the day would become clouded in the haze of yet another excuse for a three-day weekend.
In 1978, Congress returned veterans Day to its traditional Nov. 11 observance.
We, the members of V.F.W. post 3111 and Ladies Auxiliary, hope everyone will be flying their flags on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
Thelma Hipp,
Americanism Chairman,
Morrison-McFadden VFW
post 3111 and Auxiliary,
Great Bend