The History of Veterans Day
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By Cynthia Haggitt
Veterans Day pays tribute to and thanks all American veterans who have honorably served in the military. The Jersey honor guard, veterans and other community members that usually attend and participate in the Veterans Day Ceremony
This year, it was a beautiful sunny day, but there was definitely a little chill in the air for a fall day to commemorate the men who fought for our freedom. However, it would not stop the traditional playing of Taps and gun salute by local honor guard members.
“We made a commitment just like on Memorial Day that we will never forget our veterans, and it’s our duty to remember them and to honor them,” ceremony organizer Greg Breden said. I am not unsurprised by the turnout even though we have been dealing with a COVID. Jersey County is one of the most patriotic countries around,” he said. “We participate in this quite often and people will come out no matter what.”
The ceremony was kicked off with a performance from the Jersey Community High School Band . Along with the national anthem, the band performed the Battle Hymn of the Republic. At the ceremony, Taps was performed followed by a gun salute. Terry Day, a retired senior warrant officer 4, who was the guest speaker at the event put the cold weather in context.
“It is nothing compared to what men fought for in Korea and at the Battle of the Bulge,” Day said. We are here to honor our service members and to remember the sacrifices they have made and the courage it has taken to defend our honor,duty and country.”
Originally known as Armistice Day, the holiday was first observed Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I.
The date 11/11 reflects the fact that War 1 ended during the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
Congress declared Armistice Day a national holiday in 1938. Although WWI was once dubbed “The war to end all wars,” it sadly was not. In 1954, President Eisenhower changed the holiday’s name to Veterans Day to pay homage to those who served in World War II and Korea, as well as WWI veterans.
In the early ‘70s, Veterans Day underwent another change. Three years earlier, Congress had passed the Uniform Holiday Bill to give American workers a three-day weekend for a handful of federal holidays. One of those holidays was Veterans Day. When the bill went into effect in 1971, the annual observance of Veterans Day was changed from November 11 to the fourth Monday of October.
The change caused a great deal of confusion – and backlash. Several states simply refused to observe Veterans Day on any date but November 11.
Four years later, President Gerald Ford signed a law that returned Veterans Day to its original date. The law went into effect in 1978, and Veterans Day has been observed on November 11 ever since.