Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day

In 1918, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, at the eleventh hour, a pre-arranged cease fire ended the hostilities between the Allies [The United Kingdom, France, The Russian Empire, the Japanese Empire, Italy, Belgium, Montenegro, Greece, Serbia, and the United States] and the Central Powers [the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, The Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Bulgaria]. Thus ended "The Great War"..."The War to end all wars".

A year later, President Woodrow Wilson declared that date to be a holiday set aside for the solemn remembrance of the many dead from World War I. It was to be known as Armistice Day, to note the date that Germany signed the Armistice that ended the war.

Thanks to a small grass-roots movement centered in Emporia, Kansas in 1953, Congress passed a law establishing the date with a new name, Veterans Day, to honor all of America's Veterans from all eras. President Eisenhower signed it into law and it became law on June 1, 1954. With the exception of a few years in the 1970s, Veterans Day has been and always will be observed on November 11th, every year.

This year, as in so many other years, we are saddened by still another war ongoing, keeping our brave warriors far from their homes and hearths, in constant danger so that we may live in Freedom, Liberty, and Peace at home.

We ask that you pray for them, and for all Veterans, living and dead, who did their duty.

One of the more familiar pieces about Veterans was written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian physician serving in France during the War, after witnessing the death of his friend, 22 year old Lieutenant Alexis Helmer. Written in 1915, and published four years later as a small collection of his poems, In Flanders Fields is one of the most poignant remembrances of the price of war, and is applicable to all wars.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Remember our Veterans today, Veterans Day 2011. If you see some, thank them for their service.


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