“Since the birth of our Nation, American patriots have stepped forward to serve our country and defend our way of life. With honor and distinction, generations of servicemen and women have taken up arms to win our independence, preserve our Union, and secure our freedom. From the Minutemen to our Post-9 /11 Generation, these heroes have put their lives on the line so that we might live in a world that is safer, freer, and more just, and we owe them a profound debt of gratitude. On Veterans Day, we salute the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen who have rendered the highest service any American can offer, and we rededicate ourselves to fulfilling our commitment to all those who serve in our name.” Excerpt from President Barack Obama’s Proclamation on Veterans Day 2014
Today, we honor and salute all of our armed forces; men and women, about 22 million Veterans have reintegrated into society, who served in the United States Armed Forces. On November 11, 1947, Raymond Weeks of Birmingham, Alabama, organized the first Veterans Day parade to honor our service men and women for their efforts. At that time, it was called Armistice Day. Later on, U.S. Representative Edward H. Rees of Kansas proposed legislation for a name change from Armistice Day to Veterans Day. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill in 1954 proclaiming November 11th as Veterans Day, and everyone honored that date until another change occurred fourteen years later. In 1968, the date was moved to the fourth Monday in October. Congress soon recognized the historical importance of November 11th and changed it back in 1978.
The American Veteran – Show #905
The tradition of having the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery continues till this day. On the morning of the 11th, at 11AM, a group of guards from each of the military services, pay their respects to those who died at war in an impressive ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. The President or his designated representative then places a wreath at the Tomb. A bugler sounds “Taps.” which is quite haunting and then the ceremony moves to the Memorial Amphitheater, adjacent to the Tomb. A “Parade of Flags” by Veterans service organizations is also part of the second half of the ceremonies performed on that day. The Veterans Day National Committee which organizes the ceremonies, also supports a number of Veterans Day Regional Sites: There are 67 sites in 39 states and the sites hold a variety of community celebrations, on Veterans Day, to honor the living and keep the memories of loved ones lost alive. Did your/your community participate in it this year?
“Honoring the sacrifices many have made for our country in the name of freedom and democracy is the very foundation of Veterans Day.” Charles B. Rangel
The American Veteran – Women at War
One thing that stands out on this day is the spirit of gratitude that many express towards our servicemen and women. My prayer is that all of us will remember to give thanks for the blessings of freedom and peace we enjoy. Let us add Peace to the top of our special list of gifts we plan to share with family, friends and ultimately, with the world today and throughout this holiday season. May peace prevail in our heart. What does this day mean to you? How do you honor Veterans Day? Thank you.
Positive Motivation Tip: On Veterans Day, spend some time reflecting on how you can contribute to peace making in your home, community, country and globally. Each of us can make a difference.