Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Meaning of Veterans Day- How and Why

Through the tears we shed today for our veterans who are gone from this life, but not from our hearts, we bow our heads in remembrance of what our military do for us-- always and all ways. Thank you to my own gentle giant who rests sweetly.

Thought you'd enjoy this glimpse into the history of Veterans Day:

How and Why We Honor Veterans Day

/24-7/ -- Veteran's Day is a day designated to honor the men and women who have fought and died for our country. The freedom that you have today is hard won by these soldiers who paid the ultimate price. They are the reason that you are free today. You can live where you want, work where you want, worship however you want, travel wherever you want, wear whatever you want, say whatever you want. Freedom isn't always free. It comes at a steep price. This is a day that is intended for giving thanks and reflecting on what has been sacrificed for our freedom.

In 1918, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month, the world rejoiced and celebrated. After four years of bitter war, an armistice was signed. The "war to end all wars" was over. November 11th was set aside as Armistice Day in the United States, to remember the sacrifices that men and women made during World War I in order to ensure a lasting peace. On Armistice Day, soldiers who survived the war marched in a parade through their home towns. Politicians gave speeches and held ceremonies of thanks for the peace they had won. Congress voted Armistice Day a federal holiday in 1938, 20 years after the war had ended. In 1953 townspeople in Kansas called the holiday Veterans' Day in gratitude to the veterans of their hometown. Soon after President Nixon declared it a federal holiday.

Americans still give thanks for peace on Veterans' Day. There are ceremonies and speeches and at 11:00 in the morning most Americans observe a moment of silence, remembering those who fought for peace.

Veterans of military service have organized support groups such as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. On Veterans' Day and Memorial Day, these groups raise funds for their charitable activities by selling paper poppies made by disable veterans. A Poppy is a red flower which is worn to show others that you are remembering those who died for their country. The Poppy was chosen because it reminds us of a place called Flanders Field in Belgium where many soldiers from the first World War died in a bloody battle in a field of poppies. The poppies grow there between the crosses that mark their graves.

How to celebrate Veterans' Day:

-Fly an American Flag from your flag pole at your home or business.
-Observe a moment of silence. Concentrate on remembering those who have died defending the cause of freedom.
-Wear a poppy.
-Go to a cemetery and pay respect to a fallen soldier.
-Locate an American Legion near you and listen to the stories of men who have served for our country.
-Write a letter to a soldier who is currently serving our country and give thanks to them.

Matt Knowlan of is an expert on flag etiquette and resides in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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