TODAY IS VETERANS DAY – YESTERDAY WAS THE PARADE.
Despite being bombarded and blasted with sales of all types reminding the public of Veterans Day as well as some employers and employees receiving Monday off to honor our veterans, the turnout at the annual Fort Wayne Veterans Day parade along Parnell was dismal.
The weather was beautiful: a little nippy but with blue skies and a shining sun. So what’s the problem?
Fort Wayne is a community of about 250,000 people, yet the crowd was sparse. If I had to estimate attendance, I would say somewhere around 300 – 400 or so viewers. Most people gathered in groups of two or three; others stood by themselves. When I see so few people turn out for the parade, I have to wonder where all those “patriots” are who have slapped a magnetic sticker on their vehicles proclaiming “Support Our Troops.”
A HISTORY OF VETERANS DAY
World War I ended with the Treaty of Versailles signed on June 28, 1919. Fighting had ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
On May 13, 1938, a Congressional Act made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday: a day dedicated to the cause of world peace. Originally called Armistice Day to honor the veterans of World War I, the name was later changed. In 1954, after World War II and after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11 a.m. Of course, in today’s 24-hour, non-stop world, the closing of big-box stores as well as many others won’t happen.
Today, many citizens simply see Veterans Day as another holiday for which they will get paid to stay home or shop or sleep or do whatever they deem necessary. The following is the Senate Resolution designating November 11 through November 17 as “National Veterans Awareness Week.”
S. RES. 357
Designating the week of November 11 through November 17, 2007, as “National Veterans Awareness Week” to emphasize the need to develop educational programs regarding the contributions of veterans to the country.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
October 26, 2007
Mr. BIDEN (for himself, Mrs. LINCOLN, Mr. DORGAN, Mrs. FEINSTEIN, Mr. BOND, Mrs. CLINTON, Mr. BUNNING, Mr. CRAIG, Mr. ISAKSON, Mr. INHOFE, Ms. SNOWE, Ms. KLOBUCHAR, Mr. BAUCUS, Mr. ALLARD, Mr. CASEY, Ms. MIKULSKI, Mr. TESTER, Mr. LAUTENBERG, Mr. ROCKEFELLER, Mr. FEINGOLD, Mr. NELSON of Florida, Mr. HAGEL, Mr. VITTER, Mr. WHITEHOUSE, Mr. KERRY, Mr. GREGG, Mr. COLEMAN, Mr. BINGAMAN, Mr. DODD, Ms. LANDRIEU, Mr. CRAPO, Mr. STEVENS, Mr. THUNE, and Mr. BURR) submitted the following resolution; which was considered and agreed to
RESOLUTION Designating the week of November 11 through November 17, 2007, as “National Veterans Awareness Week” to emphasize the need to develop educational programs regarding the contributions of veterans to the country.Whereas tens of millions of Americans have served in the Armed Forces of the United States during the past century;Whereas hundreds of thousands of Americans have given their lives while serving in the Armed Forces during the past century;Whereas the contributions and sacrifices of the men and women who served in the Armed Forces have been vital in maintaining the freedoms and way of life enjoyed by the people of the United States;Whereas the advent of the all-volunteer Armed Forces has resulted in a sharp decline in the number of individuals and families who have had any personal connection with the Armed Forces;Whereas this reduction in familiarity with the Armed Forces has resulted in a marked decrease in the awareness by young people of the nature and importance of the accomplishments of those who have served in the Armed Forces, despite the current educational efforts of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the veterans service organizations;Whereas the system of civilian control of the Armed Forces makes it essential that the future leaders of the Nation understand the history of military action and the contributions and sacrifices of those who conduct such actions; andWhereas in each of the years 2000 through 2006 the Senate has recognized the need to increase the understanding of the contributions of veterans among school-aged children by approving a resolution recognizing the week containing Veterans Day as “National Veterans Awareness Week”: Now, therefore, be itResolved, That the Senate —(1) designates the week of November 11 through November 17, 2007, as “National Veterans Awareness Week” for the purpose of emphasizing educational efforts directed at elementary and secondary school students concerning the contributions and sacrifices of veterans; and(2) encourages the people of the United States to observe National Veterans Awareness Week with appropriate educational activities.
Take a moment today or sometime this week to thank a veteran for his or her service to our country. We, as a Nation, will not always agree on the correct path or what is the right course of action, but what we cannot deny to our veterans is that they are the very reason that we have the rights that we so often take for granted.