Ceremony set to honor Vets Day

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 8, 2006

To the Editor:

It was the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 when the armistice went into effect ending the fighting in “The Great War.” Guns fell eerily silent all along the front bringing to an end “the war to end all wars,” World War I. The Treaty of Versailles officially ended the war on June 28, 1919. As noble as the aspiration to end all wars might have been, the treaty settlements failed leading to some of the disputes festering into World War II.

Nov. 11, Armistice Day as it became known, was first celebrated as an official holiday in 1926 and became a national holiday in 1938. In 1954, Armistice Day became Veterans Day due to honoring veterans from two more wars after “the war to end all wars.”

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During a brief period between 1968 and 1978, Veterans Day ceremonies were observed on the fourth Monday of October. However, strong feelings for the traditional date prevailed prompting Congress to return it to November 11.

Veterans Day is observed each year to honor those serving and those who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States.

It is a day of remembrance for the living as well as the dead. Services are carried out throughout the country on this special day.

The national observance is centered around the “Tomb of the Unknowns.” Unknown soldiers from World War I, World War II, Korean War, and the Vietnam War were interred at the “Tomb of the Unknowns.”

However, with the advent of DNA testing, the Vietnam War unknown was identified in 1998.

His body was disinterred and reburied in Missouri by his family.

The unknowns are representative of all who gave their lives in service to our country. Each year, on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m., a presidential wreath is placed and “Taps” played as a tribute to all of our nation’s war dead.

Local services will be at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 11 a.m.

Please attend and show support for veterans and active duty armed forces personnel.

The war on terror will be long, difficult and expensive. American soldiers are part of our shield of protection from Islamic terrorist who desire to annihilate us. We need to support our service personnel and thank God for them.

It is being requested by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, James Nicholson, and leaders of veterans organizations for veterans to wear their medals received during military service on Nov. 11.

The idea is to foster a new spirit of patriotism much like a similar tradition practiced in Australia and New Zealand. The idea is to exhibit pride and tradition in being and honoring veterans. Aside from serving God, there can be no greater honor or cause than to serve your country during wartime.

If you are unable to attend a public service, please consider observing two minutes of silent reverence and pray at 11 a.m. for all who gave their lives, those who have served in our armed forces, and those presently in harm’s way for the cause of democracy and freedom around the world.

God bless all who wear and have worn the uniform of the most generous and powerful country on the face of the earth. See you at Memorial Stadium Saturday, Nov. 11, 2006, at 11 a.m.

James G. Smith