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Military

By USMC Cpl. Dave Beall

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Remember Those Who Served Before You
(November 11, 2010)

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MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, Jacksonville, N.C. (MCN - 11/10/2010) — As Nov. 11, grows near, many people make plans for a free day off work or school. What some fail to realize is why they have this day off.

It is not just a random day that everyone decided to take off and call a holiday. It is Veterans Day.

It is a day to remember all the service members who fought before us and those who passed on during the battles we read about in history books, or learned about in the news.

Veterans Day began on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month in 1918 when the allied nations and Germany agreed to an armistice temporarily stopping hostilities between the countries involved in World War I.

After the countries signed the Treaty of Versailles June 28, 1919, the Great War ended. That same year, President Woodrow Wilson declared the first “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11. The original concept of Armistice Day involved a two-minute break in the work day beginning at 11 a.m. according to http://www.infoplease.com/.

Beginning Nov. 11, 1921, the day also marked the founding of the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, also known as The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. The country began holding parades and celebrations to commemorate the day.

By 1926 more than 27 states proclaimed Nov. 11, a holiday. Armistice Day was officially marked a federal holiday on May 13, 1938. The U.S. chose the day to recognize the WWI veterans and “the war to end all wars.”

After World War II and the Korean War, the country had millions of veterans due to the mass mobilization of troops during these conflicts. The need to change the name of this holiday became apparent to the veterans' service organizations of that time.

The 83rd U.S. Congress changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954, commemorating veterans of all wars.

“I have today signed a proclamation calling upon all of our citizens to observe Thursday, November 11, 1954 as Veterans Day,” said President Dwight D. Eisenhower in a letter to Harvey V. Higley, administrator of Veterans' Affairs, Oct. 8, 1954. “It is my earnest hope that all veterans, their organizations, and the entire citizenry will join hands to insure proper and widespread observance of this day.”

Americans celebrated Veterans Day on Nov. 11, until 1971 when the “Monday Holiday Law” changed the national Holiday to the fourth Monday of October. However, most states continued to observe the holiday on Nov. 11, and in 1978 Congress returned the holiday to its original date.

Today, people celebrate Veterans Day in numerous ways. The President lays a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery at the Tomb of the Unknowns, which contains the remains of three anonymous service members from WWI, WWII and the Korean War.

Americans celebrate Veterans Day mostly the same way they celebrated it when congress first established the day 91 years ago. It is a continuing reminder to remember those service members who sacrificed in past wars for the country's freedom and continued to keep it safe throughout every war in U.S. history.
By USMC Cpl. Dave Beall
Marine Corps Air Station New River
Copyright 2010

Reprinted from Marine Corps News

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