What would America be without her veterans? In all honesty we wouldn’t exist. Our Veterans are the very fibers that make us who we are as a nation. They are a beautiful picture of what servants are.
Nothing I can say can truly put into words how much I love our nation’s veterans. Growing up, my folks always made sure to impress on our young minds, the importance of having a heart of gratitude. And I’m not talking about just around Thanksgiving time. They instilled in our hearts a gratitude to those who have served in order for America to remain free. It was just a bonus that Veterans Day happens to fall in the same month that we have Thanksgiving. 😉
Mom would always bake cookies, and my siblings and I would sit down with construction paper, glitter, glue, and a whole lot of red, white, and blue, to draw pictures for the veterans we knew. Then we’d go around as a family on Veterans Day and deliver them.
So with today being Veterans Day, there shouldn’t have been a question in your mind as to what my post would be about today. Y’all know me better than that.
Before we get going though, I have to throw this out there. Veterans Day is not for those serving currently in our military. It’s not that we don’t love, appreciate, and thank our service members, because you better believe we do. We have Armed Forces Day for that, and you can check out my post on it here. However, Veterans Day is for thanking and honoring those who have served in the past.
So that having been said, what is Veterans Day? Its history, its purpose, its meaning?
Originally, Veterans Day was known as Armistice Day in the US. Why? You guessed it! It was in honor of the Armistice that was signed in 1918, essentially ending World War One. The day was celebrated with parades and public meetings, all rejoicing the end to a bloody, terrible war.
The Armistice was signed in the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month. From this sprang the tradition of Americans all across the country stopping their work and play at eleven o’clock every Armistice Day to contemplate the blissfulness felt when the war was finally ended.
As the years passed, the meaning and traditions began to change gradually. In 1921 the unidentified remains of an American soldier killed in the Great War, were buried in Arlington National Cemetery. We now know it as The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. To the Americans still healing from the grief and pain that the Great War brought, this sacred memorial meant the world.
World War One was considered to be the “war to end all wars”. So naturally, its end was something to rejoice over. However only a few years after Armistice Day became an official holiday, World War Two broadsided the entire world. America saw the largest military mobilization that she had ever seen in her history. It has been estimated that roughly sixteen million Americans served during the Second World War. When victory was finally declared, the US homeland found itself being flooded with thousands of war veterans returning. They were America’s heroes; the pride of our nation. They had protected and defended America against the onslaught of her enemies, and they had emerged the victors. Naturally, there was an intense desire to honor and thank these returning veterans.
Thus was born the very first time the title Veterans Day was ever used. In 1947 World War Two veteran, Raymond Weeks, organized the first unofficial Veterans Day on November 11th. The focus was fully on honoring all those who had served America. It was celebrated much in the same way that Armistice Day had been up to that point, but with the focus having changed a bit.
By the time the Korean War had ended, momentum was steadily growing to find a way to thank veterans. Armistice Day began to be known by more and more people, as Veterans Day. And finally in 1954, Congress passed a bill officially making Veterans Day a national holiday to be recognized on November 11th. Later, Congress changed the date on which Veterans Day would be recognized to be the fourth Monday in October. Americans weren’t happy with the change. After all, November 11th holds a lot of historical meaning and importance to America. They refused to stop celebrating it on November 11th, and soon Congress decided it was best to not mess with the will of the American people.
It is so vital for Americans to remember to be grateful to the many men and woman who served our country honorably and faithfully. Over the years, 41 million Americans have served in our military since the founding of our country. They deserve to be honored.
So today I want to say Thank You to all our veterans. Especially to the ones that I know personally. For sake of their privacy, I’m not going to call them by name, though you know I would in a heartbeat. But every single one of them have been a blessing in my life, and my heart will always be grateful for their selflessness and service.