June 28, 1919. The signing of the Treaty of Versailles and the official end to World War I, at the time known as “The Great War.” However, fighting had ceased seven months earlier when an armistice between the Allied Forces and Germany went into effect. On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month “the war to end all wars” was regarded as over. In November of 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.
1954. Armistice Day was originally dedicated to honor veterans of World War I, however, World War II required the greatest mobilization of this nation’s soldiers and American forces had just fought aggression in Korea. With urging from veterans service organizations, the 83rd Congress amended the Act of 1938. Legislation approved a change of the word armistice to veteran on June 1. November 11th became a day to honor all American veterans.
1971. The Uniform Holiday Bill of 1968 was signed to ensure three-day weekends for federal employees. The new Veterans Day was observed on October 25. Yet there was confusion to the change in date, and the commemoration of the day on November 11 was still a matter of historic and patriotic significance. On September 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a law returning Veterans Day to the original date. Beginning in 1978, and from then on, Veterans Day would be observed on November 11th.
Veterans Day honors our veterans. This day honors their love and patriotism to this country. More importantly, this day honors their service and sacrifice.
To serve this nation, to sacrifice as much as our soldiers do, I firmly believe this is one of the highest aspirations a person may reach in this life. There is nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer.
I am not a veteran but I have the upmost respect for those who serve, have served, and will serve this nation. Veterans are the ones who take the oath. Veterans are the ones who vow to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. These are the ones who feel the need and know it is their calling to serve.
Veterans are the ones who bear the cost of war and stand firm during times of peace. Every veteran has a story. Whether that story comes from December 7, 1941 or 60 years later on September 11, 2001, veterans know the exact moment they realized they were called to serve.
Thomas Jefferson said “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Veterans are the patriots. Veterans are the ones willing to sacrifice lifeblood to water the tree of liberty. Veterans are the ones who walk forward knowing the price they may ultimately pay. The names change, the battlefields change, but the oath and the veteran remain the same.
Veterans leave all they love behind to honor this nation’s call. The servants heart found in a veteran is unlike anything else. To know the heart of a veteran is a beautiful thing. Hearing their thoughts and feeling the hearts of these warriors enriches our lives in a way that would otherwise be incomprehensible. These veterans, these soldiers, gave all they had for something greater than themselves. In the darkest hour these men and women knew, and still know, they serve an honorable cause.
Our first duty is to remember who a veteran is. A veteran is the person wore the uniform and bore this nation on their back. A veteran is the person who believes in justice. A veteran is the person who has seen war, death, and pain yet still has the strength to carry on. A veteran is the person you see every day. A veteran has earned their title. A veteran is the extraordinary.
The bugle call of Taps honors these veterans and soldiers. Taps represents the work is finished. Taps remembers those who have made the sacrifice.
Day is done, gone the sun
From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky
All is well, safely rest
God is nigh.
Fading light, dims the sight
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright
From afar, drawing near
Falls the night.
Thanks and praise for our days
Neath the sun, neath the stars, neath the sky
As we go, this we know
God is nigh.
No matter the era, veterans are the finest of citizens. We owe them for the freedom we have today. Veterans are the ones who deserve our respect and our lasting gratitude.
A veteran is a hero. A veteran is the true meaning of valor.
To the veterans of this great nation – the nation you vow to serve and the citizens of this nation you have defended are eternally grateful.
For God & country.