The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

November 10, 2013

Honor those who serve

The Commercial-News

---- — Veterans organizations and many others plan ceremonies Monday to honor the men and women who wore our nation’s military uniforms and served to protect our nation. Veterans Day remains a special holiday in America, one where residents should take a moment to appreciate the sacrifices made by those who served in the armed forces.

Veterans Day traces its roots back to World War I. The Treaty if Versailles ended that war on June 28, 1919, but all countries involved had agreed to stop the bloodshed seven months before at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month — Nov. 11, 1918.

President Woodrow Wilson recognized the first Armistice Day, as it was then known, on Nov. 19, 1919. It was to be a day of parades, of public events and businesses were expected to stop their activities for a time at 11 a.m.

The idea of Veterans Day took the form we know it as today in 1954 as a way to remember not only those who served during World War I, but the men and women who stepped forward to serve in all wars, especially World War II and Korea. Federal legislation was introduced to change the name of the holiday to Veterans Day.

President Dwight Eisenhower — himself a veteran of World War II — encouraged all Americans to join with veterans and their organizations in ceremonies to commemorate the day.

Regardless of people’s thoughts toward the political reasons American military men and women were sent into harm’s way, the effort and sacrifice military personnel made to serve our country deserves everyone’s respect.

Almost every area community has some sort of ceremony planned for Monday. Take the opportunity to show your appreciation for the service performed by our military men and women.

As Wilson wrote in his proclamation for that first Armistice Day: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in te heroism of those who died in the country’s service and the gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations ...”