I have been knee deep in prepping for Veterans Day this year. I have had an amazing group of friends, co-workers, community members, and people that I have never meet who spent their own time and energy in making goodies to deliver to various veteran facilities in the area. This morning I was stress that there was not enough. Not enough cookies, the thank you cards were not good enough, I should have knitted faster, I should have bought more…I should have done so much more. I had to dye my hair because I gave myself gray hair over this important holiday. A holiday that I feel was getting overshadowed by free meals and Starbucks coffees. There is something to be said about COVID, it made us get back to the basics of humanity.
I am now armed with 3,000 cookies, pumpkin breads, miniature muffins, and some sweet treat that has no name, but was like magic in my mouth when I snuck a very small bite. The cards have been individualized and everyone comes from the heart. So, I sit here, admiring the goodness still found in my city, and wonder what is out there that honors those who have served and why we take one moment in time – the 11th day of the 11th month to pause and remember.
Let’s go back to World War I! An armistice, or temporary cease fire between the Allied Nations and Germany went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. It was for all concerned, the end of the war to end all wars. The Peace Treaty was not to be signed until 7 months later on 28 June 1919 at the Palace of Versailles outside of Versailles, France- but peace had been declared and the survivors could finally go home.
November 1919- President Wilson proclaimed that 11 November would be the first commemoration of Armistice Day: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”
Here is where people get confused, it was originally known as Armistice Day, and was to honor those who served in World War I. But then, there was World War II and that saw the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen in the Nation’s history. Then that same fighting spirit was seen in the Korean War. Veterans across the nation banned together and urged Congress to redefine the holiday as all encompassing to everyone who fought- and Congress delivered with the Act of 1938 which striked out the word ‘Armistice’ and inserted ‘Veterans’. It was signed by President Eisenhower on 8 October 1938.
I have been asked an interesting question by my children and I want to explain it here. Why is Veterans day not on a Monday like other Federal Holiday’s so that there is a 3 day weekend? That is simple.
One- because the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month ended the war to end all wars.
Two- because unlike the other Federal Holidays that get lost in Walmart specials, weekend BBQs, camping trips, and general disregard on why Federal employees get a paid day off of work, Veterans Day will be always the 11th day of the 11th month. Because veterans shouldn’t have to fight with President 3-day monster sales at the furniture store, or car-lots boasting about their sales to end all sales. It is a quiet holiday, like most of our veterans. Who remember together or alone, and honor those who did not return. There is no need to buy 1 get 1 free for veterans- they already paid the price.
So this is not like my other posts, maybe I really am getting sentimental in my old age. I almost bought a Veterans hat, but I hate hat hair. I just wanted to remind you, my friends and family, that this day is still special. And while they may not want to hear it- say it anyways. “Thank you” It is not taking away from any other profession or essential worker in America- it is just saying two simple words- Thank You! So, to all my veteran readers- I have cookies, pumpkin bread, miniature muffins, and some unnamed glorious thingy all waiting for you.
From my home to yours- Thank you and you are remembered.
Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and
Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.