Unfurled, the flag on my antenna was flapping in the breeze as I drove toward my first stop of the day. With the exception of the Post Office, the schools and municipal buildings I passed along the way, I was disappointed to see the Stars and Stripes conspicuously absent elsewhere.
Most of the cities and towns in the area had already done their part to honor our veterans by holding parades on the previous Sunday, such is the fate of the "lesser" holidays that fall on a week day. At least Veterans Day does get some measure of recognition.
Except for veterans organizations, however, the significance of Veterans Day has been all but lost and forgotten. Do many even remember that the day was once called Armistice Day?
armistice - n. a temporary stopping of warfare by mutual agreement, as a truce preliminary to the signing of a peace treatyThe significance of Veterans Day (Armistice Day), as well as the date (November 11) on which it is celebrated, can be traced back to:
... the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 when Germany signed the Armistice which ended the hostilities of World War I [sic] "the war to end all wars."When American servicemen and women began returning home when World War II ended, it wasn't long before there was a movement for Armistice Day to honor "all" veterans, not just those who served in the first world war.
Congress passed a bill to that effect, and on May 26,1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law an act that decreed Armistice Day as a day to honor all veterans. Congress amended the act on November 11 of the same year to effectively rename the holiday Veterans Day.
Did you know that while grammatically correct, it is considered in bad taste to use an apostrophe in the name of this holiday? The official government stance is that it should appear as it was written into law and it should never appear as "Veteran's Day" or "Veterans' Day."Alas, there are some other patriotic observances that have been summarily ignored also. To many they are just another day on the calendar. I wonder how many, without Googling, can provide the calendar dates (and for extra credit the year of the event) of all of the following:
(a) VE Day (Victory in Europe)Don't feel bad or unpatriotic if you could not answer all of them. As for myself, I had to look up Flag Day, but I did know the rest.
(c) Flag Day
(d) VJ Day (Victory in Japan)
(e) Pearl Harbor Day
(a) May 8, 1945When I parked on the parking lot of my first stop for the day I could see a couple of blocks away the flag high above the City Hall Building. I removed my cap, placed my right hand over my heart and said,
(b) June 6, 1944
(c) June 14, 1777
(d) August 14, 1945
(e) December 7, 1941
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation under God, indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for all."
I didn't hug a veteran today but I felt good - because I wasn't afraid to recite the Pledge of Allegiance even though it contains that "terrible" word GOD and I knew all the words.