Today is Veteran’s Day, 2015….When this holiday was originally conceived, it was meant to honor all the soldiers who had ever served in the military, many of whom had died in battle defending their country in WWI…..They really believed back then that this terrible war, with it’s tremendous loss of life, sacrifice and the introduction of new deadly weapons and tactics that included trench warfare, massive artillery barrages, machine guns, suicidal forays into “no man’s land” and the introduction of chemical weapons was so horrible that no country would ever again be tempted to start another war….
Sadly, they were mistaken and in their classic song, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” the Who famously articulated the painful truth, “ And the world looks just the same….And history ain’t changed…’Cause the banners, they are flown in the next war…” which was WWII and was basically a continuation of the hostilities started, fought bitterly over, but never fully resolved in WWI….
The overall result is that this holiday has been downgraded in a sense, most businesses are still open as usual and only the Federal and state governments honor it by observing a day of remembrance that is as important now as it was then…It has since become in fact a general day of honoring that includes all the veterans from all of the wars, living and dead, besides WWI, which was ironically termed: “The War To End All Wars”….
Since most people today have no clue about the meaning of the holiday, I will go to my Google sources for some general information, and BTW, the holiday was originally called Armistice day but changed officially to Veteran’s day by Congress in 1938: “World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France.
However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
An act of Congress approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I”….But the wars just kept on coming….
“So in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
Many Americans mistakenly believe that Veterans Day is the day America sets aside to honor American military personnel who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained from combat. That’s not quite true. Memorial Day is the day set aside to honor America’s war dead. Veterans Day, on the other hand, honors ALL American veterans, both living and dead.
In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for dedicated and loyal service to their country. November 11 of each year is the day that we ensure veterans know that we deeply appreciate the sacrifices they have made in their lives to keep our country free.”
The list of wars since WWI is almost endless…..Some of the major ones were of Course WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the first Gulf war, the conflict in Iraq, the Kosovo war, and the 2nd Gulf war, which continues to this very day, with Americans fighting and dying in various Middle Eastern countries…
The political reasons for war have always been hotly debated, but it has truly been said that “Old men argue, and young men die”…So today on this national holiday, let’s try to put aside all our petty differences of opinion, put aside our political differences and simply honor those brave young men and women who actually volunteer to serve our country and who have been there and personally put their life on the line defending our country…..
War is horrible, it always has and always will be, and yet it is apparently inevitable…. With the seemingly endless round of conflicts now centered in the Mid East it appears war to some degree will be with us for the foreseeable future….This day is not about the political correctness of the U.S. participation in these wars, or any wars, but rather about the personal bravery and self sacrifice of the individual veterans who have served their country by joining the Armed Services…….
If you know any vets, or see any on the street, take a moment and thank them for their efforts…..They have put their bodies on the line, and many today are suffering from post traumatic stress and some from horrible, disfiguring wounds suffered in battles in far flung places around the globe most of us have never even heard of, and for personal reasons most of us will never fully comprehend…..
And BTW, the Veteran’s Bureau should wake up and smell the coffee! Their lackadaisical, inept attitude and seeming indifference to the latest round of American war casualties needs to be seriously examined and overhauled….It is a shame and a scandal! The Veterans Bureau has been exposed and castigated in the media about their incredible bureaucracy the last few years, and rightly so….
These returning veterans deserve every right they are entitled to without having to negotiate endless miles of red tape and intolerable waiting periods for their benefits …Most of us have loved ones, friends or relatives who were in the armed services in one war or another, and risked sacrificing their very lives; the least the government can do is to alleviate their suffering and help them now that they have returned….
I am 100% against war as a policy tool, except as a last gasp defense, but that does not mean that I cannot honor in my heart and my thoughts the bravery of those soldiers who have earned the title of veterans….It is for them, living and dead, veterans of all the wars, that we should unite and dedicate this day to, Veteran’s Day 2015!
To all veterans, living and dead, thank you for your sacrifices: We Salute You!
For more information on The History Of Veteran’s Day, see :www.va.gov/…/vetsday/vet…United States Department of Veterans Affairs
For more blogs by John Whye, see http://www.johnwhye.com