Sunday, November 11 was Veterans Day. Originally known as Armistice Day, the date signifies the end of World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.
Veterans Day is to remember those who have served their country and those who are serving today. In addition, President Bush has proclaimed November 11 through November 17, 2007, to be “National Veterans Awareness Week. ” This week is to emphasize the importance of the need to develop educational programs regarding the contributions veterans have made to the country.
Veterans are our grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters and cousins. They served on the airfields, beaches, ships and battlefields of World War II, in the cold and mud of Korea, in the heat and mud of the jungles of Vietnam.
Veterans Day is not all about the past. Every young soldier returning from Iraq and Afghanistan is a veteran.
And don’t forget all the veterans who served stateside or during peacetime over the years.
On June 1, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first “Veterans Day Proclamation.” He urged Americans to “solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”
On Main Street in Water Valley there is a monument dedicated to veterans of our community who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our country. At the Veterans Day ceremony held downtown this past Sunday the names carved on that granite monument outnumbered the people in attendance.