An honored tradition
Every day should be Veterans Day, at least in how we honor those who served.
We celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day once a year, but people say that every day is Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. And so should every day be Veterans Day. It is officially celebrated on Nov. 11, but no single day of the year is enough to display our reverence and appreciation of military veterans.
How did it come to be that we have a holiday for veterans? World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The actual fighting had ended seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. Armistice Day, as Nov. 11 became known, became a holiday in the United States in 1926 and a national holiday in 1938. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day.
In 1968, legislation changed Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October, an unpopular move that Congress fixed in 1978 by returning the observance to its traditional date in November.
National ceremonies for Veterans Day center around the Tomb of the Unknowns, where an Army honor guard keeps vigil at all times. The nation’s tribute to its war dead is symbolized by the laying of a presidential wreath and the playing of “Taps.”
That’s how the holiday came to be and how our government officially observes it. But how people celebrate it is what really matters. Military veterans got us through two world wars. They fought valiantly in Korea and Vietnam. They are at the forefront of the international war on terror. They are full-time and part-time, men and women, people of all nationalities and races and backgrounds. We should recognize the heroism of those who died in service to their country as well as those who wore the uniform of their nation to protect us in peacetime and wartime.
If those who fought World War II are members of the Greatest Generation, then those who came before and after and served their country are due as much praise and honor. America is free largely due to the sacrifices and work of those who wore the uniform of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.
Sevier County is a patriotic county. Sevierville and Gatlinburg will hold Veterans Day events today. Sevier County and Seymour high schools and Northview Middle held salutes to veterans stage shows. Veterans are respected and appreciated in our community.
Thanks to all who served and are serving, as well as those young people who are thinking about it. One day isn’t enough, but it’s all we have officially. Let’s be sure it’s not all we can do.