Veterans Day History is Interesting But it Doesn’t Take a Scholar to Say Thank You.


Thank You

On This Day, Thank a Veteran:

Original "Armistice Day" Honoree

Original "Armistice Day" Honoree

Prior to noon on November 7, 1918 United Press president Roy Howard sent a cable to the New York headquarters: “Urgent. Armistice allies Germans signed 11 smorning hostilities ceased 2 safternoon.”  Midday papers blared the headlines and celebration erupted.  Trouble was, it wasn’t true.  Howard had gotten the news from US Admiral Henry B. Wilson who commanded the US Navy in French waters.  Seems that the admiral was duped by German spies.  Wilson manned up and admitted it was his fault, thus saving the reputation of the United Press.  Turns out, the news wasn’t wrong, just premature.  Just 4 days later, on November 11, 1918; on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the “Great War” was over.  A year later,  November 11, 1919 was proclaimed “Armistice Day” to commemorate the end of the “Great War” now better known as World War I. 

Sir, we salute you.

Sir, we salute you.

It was thought at the time that there would never be a greater conflict.  By the 1940’s, it was evident that was not the case. In 1920 at the urging of church groups, President Wilson named the nearest Sunday to November 11 “Armistice Sunday.” In 1921, Congress approved the building of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery and designated November 11, 1921 as a Federal holiday for all who participated in the “Great War.” In 1926, Congress called on the President to give an address each Armistice Day and most states in the decade mark the occasion with a holiday.

Now, in 1938 Congress adopted November 11 as a Federal holiday. But, Congress only holds the power to grant Federal employees holidays. It’s up to the states to designate holidays but since most states already have the holiday, the Federal government really followed the states lead in contrast to most other national holidays in which the states follow the Fed’s lead. World War II and Korea come and go so President Eisenhower officially changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

It Doesn't take Much Effort

It Doesn't Take Much Effort

For some reason, Congress in 1968 messed with the tradition.  Perhaps it was an effort to save money or just a good gesture to give everyone a 3 day weekend, or maybe they were caught up in the turbulent 60’s.  In any event, Congress decided to make the 4th Monday in October Veterans Day, taking effect in 1971.    All the states moved their holidays except for Mississippi and South Dakota. By 1975, the majority of the states had moved it back to the original November 11. The Federal Government capitulated and changed the Federal holiday back, beginning with November 11, 1978.  Not only was the day considered sacred at its inception, it somehow held that same position later in the 20th century because when the government tried to change it, the citizens through the state legislatures, basically told the Feds to shove off and returned it to its proper place. This is not Memorial Day, but if you choose to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation, then please do so. But, Veterans Day to me is for the living…so if you don’t go to a ceremony or church service today, take the time to thank a veteran. I do it everytime I meet someone who served. Like Mother’s Day, I don’t just tell my mother that I love her on Mother’s Day. In any event, it’s not hard, just reach out your hand and say “thank you.” They earned it.  Too often we run around saying we “support the troops” or are grateful for living in this nation but never thank those who are responsible.

Weather Bottom Line:  Eric noted that I haven’t given too much attention to local weather lately, but he surmised it was because it was boring.  He’s right…pretty uneventful.  And that trend will continue.  Some folks may see the upper 30’s on Wednesday night and our highs Wed and Thu will be in the upper 50’s and low 60’s.  Then mid to upper 60’s on Friday as high pressure drifts to the east.  Then we get around 70 on Saturday before clouds start to move in on Sunday ahead of another not-too-strong system that may bring a few showers late Sunday into Monday.


One Response

  1. Readers may also be interested in the writings home from the front of US Sgt. Sam Avery during the Great War (World War I). Fascinating eyewitness history from the hot sands along the Rio Grande to the cold mud along the Meuse.

    This blog is an adventure long in the making for me in honor of my own family hero. Letters are posted on the same day they were written from the trenches 91 years ago. Today I found myself staring at my watch counting down the minutes to 1100 hrs.

    Long before the Greatest Generation there was the Most Gallant Generation. Stop by and come march along…

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