Swamps, runways, deserts, and mountains. Days filled with “hurry up and wait.” Getting called to duty, issued live ammunition, and placed on an aircraft to await deployment, only to be told to stand down after many adrenaline-filled hours or even days. Such is a soldier’s life.
Armistice Day originally celebrated the end of the war to end all wars— World War I. The Allies and Germany signed a truce on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918.
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with 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 the nations … ” The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades, public meetings, and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11 a.m.
In 1954, Congress updated Armistice Day to be known as Veterans Day. The United States had fought in two other massive wars (World War II and the Korean War), and this would allow veterans of all wars to be honored. Nov. 11 is also my birthday. I confess, with much embarrassment, that as a child, I believed all those flags along the road were there to celebrate my birthday.
Today, we celebrate Nov. 11 by honoring our military veterans with flags, bbqs, and parades. Some restaurants even offer free food for veterans and their families.
I believe we should honor our veterans every day. There is truth to the saying “freedom isn’t free.” These men and women, and their families, sacrifice much for the rest of us. What are you doing for Veterans today?
GLENDA THOMPSON is a columnist for the Pleasanton Express and is currently writing a series on finding your hidden talents. Glenda resides in Charlotte where she is hard at work on the second novel in a series about Texas Rangers with dark secrets. Her first novel, Broken Toys, is available on Amazon.