Since this weekend to me is one of the most important recognition days in our history; I thought I would write an article on Veterans Day. When most people think of Veterans Day they think of large parades on those any town U.S.A. main streets and the sounds of loud horns that shatter the small storekeeper`s windows as that marching band passes by in perfect formation and in perfect step. However, the true meaning of Veterans Day is much more than that.
I am glad to finally see a nation that seems to be thankful to the men and women who have served overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan that are now coming home to be able to at least feel a little pride in having done their job to protect our great nation with a sense of motivation, work ethic and sheer determination. I am also glad to see our World War II, Korean conflict and Vietnam veterans getting the recognition they deserve as-well.
Sadly enough, I have also heard the other side from past veterans that I served with in the United States Army. When I was stationed with, "The First Engineer Battalion, Headquarters Company, First Infantry Division The Big Red One", Fort Riley, Kansas my unit was comprised of many guys that served in Vietnam. I can say serving honorably with these guys was a great honor for me. Being a young kid at the time, I looked up to them as some of my role models for advice and of course how to survive in combat.
There is no greater band of brothers than to serve with warriors that served in Vietnam but serving with them I also heard a ton of stories of when these guys came home after combat operations ended in Vietnam how they were treated like they were nothing more than if they were whale crap!
I think now with our new generation, people now have a better understanding of how our military operates, our nation has come together to say "Thank You" to all veterans that have served honorably and understand the great sacrifices these men and women have gone through. Heck, I have received more "Thank You`s" from people that know I served in the military and especially serving in the military during "Operation Desert Storm" than I can count. When I hear that "thank you" it makes me feel like I did do a good job while serving but I also look at it like most veterans as I was just doing my job to protect our country and keep us free which is the most important aspect of serving to me.
Back to Veteran`s Day is much more than just a day to watch parades and hear our President address the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Some people sadly do not know the true meaning of Veterans Day, so I will enlighten those people on what the true meaning of this day is.
A lot of people believe that Veteran`s Day is a day set aside by our country to honor American military warriors who have died in combat or have died as a result of their wounds sustained while in combat. We honor those military personnel during Memorial Day not Veteran`s Day. Veteran`s Day honors all American Veterans both living and dead. This day is mostly intended to say "Thank You" to the living veterans for dedication and loyal service (serving honorably) to our country.
Back to the President addressing the Tomb of the "Unknown Soldier" and a little history behind the meaning of the Tomb of the "Unknown Soldier" dates back to the ending of World War I. To remember or commemorate the ending of that war an unknown soldier was buried in the highest place of honor in both England and France. These first ceremonies took place at 1100 hours (or for you civilians) on November 11, 1918. Which if you look at this time and date it is the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. This day is also known internationally as "Armistice Day."
Our country also followed suit to England and France back in 1921 by laying to rest the remains of a World War I American soldier, his name known but to God, "This American Soldier" was laid to rest on a Virginia hillside that overlooks the city of Washington D.C. and the Potomac River. This is the site that became and is known as the Tomb of the "Unknown Soldier." Today this site is called the "Tomb of the Unknowns" which is now located in ArlingtonNationalCemetery. This tomb takes on and symbolizes the dignity and reverence of the American veteran.
So, to continue the history of Veterans Day, back in 1926; November 11 (or the date of Veterans Day today) became known as Armistice Day through an act of Congress and then twelve years later through another act of Congress this day became a national holiday.
At the time of World War I and at the end of that war, the entire world thought that World War I was going to be the war to end all wars but we know that was not even close to being the case. The thought was shattered in 1939 when World War II broke out in Europe. A sad landmark of World War II is that more than 400,000 American military service members died during this war.
In 1947, Raymond Weeks of Birmingham, Alabama organized a Veterans Day parade to honor all veterans who served honorably. Shortly after the parade, Congressman Edward H. Rees of Kansas lobbied to congress to change the name of Armistice Day to Veteran`s Day in order to honor all veterans who served in all wars of the United States.
In 1954, President Eisenhower signed a bill which proclaimed November 11 as Veterans Day and called upon all Americans to rededicate themselves for the cause of peace. He issued a Presidential Order which directed the head of the Veteran`s Administration now known as the Department of Veterans Affairs to form a committee. This committee`s mission was to organize, develop and oversea the national observance of Veteran`s Day.
"At exactly , each November 11th, a color guard, made up of members from each of the military branches, renders honors to America`s war dead during a heart-moving ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in ArlingtonNationalCemetery."
"The President or his representative places a wreath at the Tomb and a bugler sounds Taps. The balance of the ceremony, including a "Parade of Flags" by numerous veterans` service organizations, takes place inside the Memorial Amphitheater, adjacent to the Tomb."(About.com)
So, as we celebrate this day of honor to all veterans and you sit at that traffic light waiting on it to turn green so you can finally go to your next destination, you hear a loud roar that sounds off next to your car. You look over and see a large Harley Davidson touring bike is sitting next to you. On the back of that touring bike you notice an American flag attached to the sissy bar and dangling in the wind as if is saying I am proud to be an "American," you notice sitting on the bike is a large guy dressed in jeans, a jean jacket with cut of sleeves and he is wearing a protective helmet that looks like something out of a World War II German soldiers combat gear. It has the spike and the cross bones affixed to it. You also notice he has a long white beard that makes him look like something off the band, ZZ Top. You also notice on his tattered jean jacket sits an American flag sewn to his right pocket and another patch that has a big red one on it sitting in a green background (the Big Red One)patch he is probably a war veteran that has served our country with honor.
Look over at him and give him a thumbs up and say "thank you." Just make sure when you show your thumbs so it doesn`t look like your middle finger, that may turn out to pose a problem but show him you appreciate all he has done for this country and while you`re at it, thank other veterans who have served honorably. Heck, take one of them or many of them out for a cup of coffee. They will appreciate it and you will probably make a lot of friends that will have your back in every and all situations.
Powers, R., U.S. Military, Honoring All Who Served, Veterans Day
For all of you dedicated and loyal readers of my many articles, I thank you and appreciate you all taking the time to read my articles and hope you continue to read my future articles I will continue to write. If you have been reading my past recent articles then you probably know my next book is in the publishing stages at my publisher who is Tate Publishing. I have been keeping you all updated on the production process of it and to update you more my manuscript is currently in the developmental editing stage. I am currently working with the Project Management team to finalize the cover of my book, the synopsis and the title. For now, the title is Our Grand Ol` National Past Time " which is all about the game and complete history of Major League baseball. The title could change through the process, so keep an eye out for the release date of my book so you can buy your copy of it. I will keep everyone updated on the process and when my book will be available for sale and any changes to the existing title.
Any opinions expressed on this website are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of The Student Operated Press