Thank a Veteran today!
Today is Veterans Day. WWI officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. However, seven months earlier at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the fighting ceased . . . an armistice declared. And so President Wilson proclaimed November 11, 1919 to be the first recognition of what was then called “Armistice Day,” On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to “Veteran’s Day” to honor all veterans.
On June 28, 1968 a bill was signed with the intent of providing three-day weekends for Federal employees. This bill took four holidays – Washington’s birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Columbus Day – and declared they should be observed on Mondays. It turned out that people were pretty “protective” of the day chosen to honor their veterans, and many states still observed Veterans Day on November 11th, no matter what day of the week it fell on. So much so, that on September 20, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed into effect a new law stating that the annual observance of Veterans Day would revert back to November 11th.
Some people confuse Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. Memorial Day was intended as a remembrance of those who gave their lives in the service of our country. Veterans Day is not only a day to honor those who “gave their all,” but to also honor those veterans who are still living.
If you have a veteran in your family – why not take the time to call them today to thank them for their service. . . or if you see a veteran while you are out and about today, take a moment to say “Thank You.” Or you might like to check out the following ways you could honor a veteran this month:
There are only a few days left to do this, but if you hurry . . . you could welcome a sailor into your home for Thanksgiving dinner. If you live near the Great Lakes Naval Air Station in Glenview, IL, you can “Adopt a Sailor” by filling out an application. (download the form at www.cnic.navy.mil/greatlakes) You can then fax the form to the Public Affairs office at 847) 688-4945. Host families will be notified by Nov. 20th.
(11/12/09 – Sorry . . . you missed it for this year – they are no longer taking applications . . . but maybe keep this in mind for next year!)
This suggestion comes from a young woman at our church whose husband is a member of the National Guard. “Please watch PBS on Wednesday the 11th at 9:00. They are airing the film “The Way We Get By“, the story of the Maine Troop Greeters who welcome our service members home at Bangor International. Gerry has flown into Bangor a couple of times and says it is the most patriotic thing he has ever experienced. I’m so glad they have made a movie about these good, good people that meet the planes and provide cell phones as the guys come in. Having them offer the cell phones alone brings peace of mind 5-6 hours sooner.
Consider making a donation to HonorFlight, the organization that takes WWII veterans to Washington, D. C. for the day – free of charge to the veterans. Our church family had the great privilege of being in the “welcoming home” crowd at Chicago’s Midway airport in June. Two of our church family, Frank and Jim, were among the WWII veterans traveling that day. The veterans were not expecting anyone other than their families to be on hand, but walked out to the baggage claims area into a huge crowd who applauded, shook the hands of and thanked those veterans.
We currently have “one of our own,” Brian Novotny, serving with the Marines in Afghanistan.
And the whole family can participate in this activity. Visit the Red Cross web site to learn more about “Holidays for Heroes,” which allows you to send Christmas cards to our troops.
Yesterday on our blog, we asked the question “What are you grateful for?” and posed the challenge of posting one thing each day that we are grateful for. Today would be a good day to say, “I am thankful for the freedom I enjoy because of the men and women who have served, or who are currently serving.”