By Ann Chiappetta
from The Matilda Magazine November 11 Edition
I thought it would be most appropriate if I wrote this week’s article celebrating Veterans Day. No, I am not a veteran. I am, however, a veteran’s daughter and most notably, the spouse of a veteran. I also work closely with veterans and their families as a readjustment counseling therapist for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Working with veterans is rewarding and I am honored to be able to assist the men and women who sacrificed so much to uphold our Country’s freedoms.
Did you know that Veterans Day was once called Armistice Day?
According to the Department of Veterans Affair’s website, http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp, in 1938, the United States Congress approved an Act that made the 11th of November a legal holiday known as Armistice Day
Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II, and the Korean War, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans. The day would recognize Veterans of all wars.
Interestingly, because the World War I armistice was reached on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, celebrations originally reflected this with parades and memorials not beginning before 11 a.m. . . . Now, though, I don’t think many folks appreciate what starting the parades at 11 a.m. Means.
There is another part of the original Proclamation that is very meaningful:
“…that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples”
This sounds like a day of peace and recognition, doesn’t it? I like to think of it as an alternative to Independence Day. Finally, I’d like to ask a favor from our readers.
When you see a Veteran, shake their hand and thank them for serving. It makes all the difference to them because they are usually surprised that we take the time to do it. I asked many a veteran why they are so surprised when thanked for serving. Almost always the answer is, “I was just doing my job.” I don’t know about anyone else, but that sense of duty and responsibility is what keeps me remembering to say thanks.
May all the Veterans and their families have a blessed and safe holiday.