A many of you know, today marks a day where we honor those who have served our country, some going so far as to die in their service. I find it interesting that its history is a bit different than I realized!
U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed an Armistice Day for November 11, 1919. The United States Congress passed a concurrent resolution seven years later on June 4, 1926, requesting the President issue another proclamation to observe November 11 with appropriate ceremonies. An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday; “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.”
In 1953, an Emporia, Kansas shoe store owner named Al King had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who served in World War I. King had been actively involved with the American War Dads during World War II. He began a campaign to turn Armistice Day into “All” Veterans Day. The Emporia Chamber of Commerce took up the cause after determining that 90% of Emporia merchants as well as the Board of Education supported closing their doors on November 11, 1953, to honor veterans. With the help of then-U.S. Rep. Ed Rees, also from Emporia, a bill for the holiday was pushed through Congress. President Dwight Eisenhower signed it into law on May 26, 1954.
Congress amended this act on November 8, 1954, replacing “Armistice” with Veterans, and it has been known as Veterans Day ever since. I also find it interesting that the holiday is commonly printed as Veteran’s Day or Veterans’ Day in calendars and advertisements. While these spellings are grammatically acceptable, the United States government has declared that the attributive (no apostrophe) rather than the possessive case is the official spelling. Who knew?
While I will be going to work on this holiday, I would be remiss if I didn’t share that I, too, acknowledge and appreciate those that have served in the military to protect me and my family (or ancestors) and to uphold the beliefs that are melted into the American Dream. In my family I have my Dad (Navy), brother Gary (Army), brother David (Navy), and nephew Matthew (Army). My Dad was in the Navy during the Vietnam War, and my nephew served a tour in Iraq (and worked an additional year there as a civilian). THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!
Also on this important day is that it marks the 15th anniversary of my Dad surviving full cardiac arrest. I will ALWAYS know in my heart that God protected him that day for the benefit of all of us who love him! I am thankful that I have had the years since then to have him in my life.
Happy Veterans Day!