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Veterans Day has a long history
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Dear Editor:
There was always something touching about November 11.
It began on Armistice Day marking the end of World War 1 on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
Never was the number 11 so firmly stamped on an important moment.
School children in classrooms across the land observed a moment of silence in memory of the men who died in that horrible conflict.
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 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 November 11 means.
President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Nov. 11 in 1919 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 November 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 cerimonies stressing peace and friendly relations with the world’s peoples.
In 1938 when war clouds were gathering again President Franklin D. Roosevelt made Nov. 11 a legal holiday in 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. Eisinhower, 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 the 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 VFW Post 3111 and Ladies Auxiliary, hope everyone will be flying their flags today, on Veterans Day Nov. 11.
Thelma Hipp,
Americanism Chairman,
Morrison-McFadden VFW
Post 3111 and Auxiliary