Celebrate history by honoring our veterans

Published 3:53 pm Monday, October 16, 2017

By Bobby Tingle


Veterans Day will be celebrated on November 11 as it has been since 1954. This year the day falls on the second Saturday of November.

Veterans Day coincides with Armistice Day, which commemorates the end of World War I. An armistice was signed at 11 a.m. on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, officially marking the end of the conflict.

When parties in a conflict decide to cease fighting, a signed armistice can provide written details of a temporary agreement to suspend hostilities.

Armistice Day was first celebrated at Buckingham Palace. Originally Great Britain, France and the Russian Empire allied to combat Germany and Austria-Hungary. The countries in the conflict grew over the roughly four-year period of its occurrence. The United States of America joined the conflict in the latter years.

Historically, it is one of the major events of modern history.

The celebration continues in many countries each year on November 11.

By 1954, two other major conflicts had occurred. As a result, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation designating November 11, Veterans Day. The proclamation, signed October 8, 1954, noted the annual remembrance, Armistice Day, established June 4, 1926 and later designated a national holiday May 13, 1938. The Veterans Day designation was intended to give due recognition to the men and women who served in conflicts in those later years.

Congress authorized Eisenhower’s actions on June 1, 1954.

Congress officially changed the United States commemoration of Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

Since 1954, the number of conflicts and veterans has continued to grow. It is doubtful they will cease.

Veterans Day celebrates the sacrifice of men and women who have served across every branch of our armed forces. It is appropriate for our nation to commemorate the end of the great conflict known as World War I and to honor those who served during the conflict. It is also appropriate to honor those who also have defended our heritage of freedom since.

Apart from the sacrifices made by the brave men and women who served in these and other conflicts, this nation and its citizens may not enjoy the freedom we know. Sadly, we too often take those sacrifices for granted. At times, we have shamefully displayed hostility to our veterans.

For many of us, these conflicts have taken place far removed from our day-to-day lives. We have relied on the news reports brought to us by newspapers and broadcast media to deliver what little information we know.

I say little, because unless experienced first hand we are not capable of grasping the reality of these events. Many suffer mentally and physically due to their first hand involvement.

I am guilty of taking advantage of the freedom protected by their sacrifices, while not giving due honor to those protecting our heritage of freedom.

This past Memorial Day I took advantage of a ceremony hosted by First Church of the Nazarene on Martin Luther King. They have a nice memorial, Heritage Veterans Memorial Plaza, set up on their church grounds. It is worth the time and effort to visit the memorial.

Keep us informed of your Veterans Day commemorations for 2017. We should all commit to giving our veterans the honor they deserve. If you are unable to attend a scheduled event, then take time to visit a memorial site near you.

Bobby Tingle is publisher of The Orange Leader. You can reach him at bobby.tingle@orangeleader.com.