Letters to the editor: Nov. 11, 2021

The Shawnee News-Star

Observing Veterans Day

Dear editor,

Veterans Day is a day sat aside to honor and demonstrate appreciation to all service members who served the United States in all wars.  On this day, many communities around this nation organize parades, church, and memorial services.  The American flag is hung at half-mast.  Some ceremonies include a period of silence, 21-gun salutes and other special activities.  Many schools are closed while others do not but decide to mark the occasion by inviting current or retired service members speak at their gathering.

Veterans Day is observed on November 11th.  Whenever it falls on a weekday,  many communities celebrate on the weekend closest to this day.  On November 11, Federal Government offices are closed.  If Veterans Day falls on a Saturday, they are closed on Friday, November 10.  If Veterans Day falls on a Sunday, they are closed on Monday, November 12.  State and local governments, schools, and non-governmental businesses are not required to close.  They have option to remain open or closed.

Veterans Day came into existence on the 11th  hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 as Armistice Day when guns ceased firing on the French western front.

In 1919, President Wilson declared the day be “filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory.”

In 1926, the United States Congress declared the end of World War I and passed a law affirming November 11th the anniversary of Armistice Day and should be a day of prayer and thanksgiving.

An Armistice Act was approved on May 13, 1938, voted that November 11th each year going forward be a legal holiday.  In 1954, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion requested Congress change the word “Armistice” to “Veterans” Day.  This change came about on June 1, 1954, November 11 became a day to pay tribute to all American veterans, wherever and whenever they served.

Veterans Day is a time for many battle experienced service members to reflect upon those who gave the full measure of themselves, to thank them and their families who sorrowfully live or lived their lives without their presence for the freedom, liberty, and security of the United States of America. 

Stephen A. Peterson