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Veterans Day 2016 – a short look back

There’s no school. The post office shuts down. Even the federal reserve takes a holiday on November 11th. Why? It’s a “holiday” to honor all service men and women: Veterans Day.

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U.S. Soldiers and Marines Become American Citizens. Army Specialist Austin Jules Magno leads the group in the Pledge of Allegiance during the naturalization ceremony on 29 June 2012 at Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan. Photo: US Embassy Kabul Afghanistan via Flickr.

 

Many forget why the holiday exists. There are few WWI veterans who are still with us. The war that introduced trench warfare and was considered one of the most brutal and destructive conflicts in history ended officially on June 28, 1919 outside of Versailles, France. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs tells us this:

…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.”

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World War I Trench Warfare. By Jtpf3575 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Sadly, the Great War did not end all wars, and we still see our baby boys and baby girls don uniforms and salute the shore as they leave on noble missions, all in the name of fighting for freedom. They defend the name of the United States, placing themselves in harms way over and over. We’ve seen conflicts on every continent but Antarctica, and we likely won’t see an end to the current conflicts in the Middle East soon. However, we can only hope. The 1926 United States Congress used these words oficially recognize the end of World War I and dedicate November 11th as Veterans Day:

…it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations…

So as you proudly fly your American flag today, remember exactly why we do it and who stands behind it with courage and loyalty–our soldiers.

 

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