Sunday, November 9, 2008

Veterans Day

Versaille. Somme. Verdun. Argonne. Trieste. Marne. Calais. Black Forest. Liege. Those are all names of streets in a Hollister neighborhood. I’ve often wondered why they were picked. They are also all names of cities and other locales where battles took place and treaties were signed during the Great War.

The Great War? Sure you've heard of it. The Great War took place in Europe between 1914 and 1918. Yup. World War I. Oh-oh, sounds like a history lesson coming on. It'll be brief.

This Tuesday, November 11, is Veterans Day. How many of you know that this holiday was originally observed as Armistice Day?

On November 11, 1918, the Allies—which were France, Italy, the British Empire, the Russian Empire, and the United States—signed a truce with Germany to end that Great War. Hence, Armistice Day.

People called that war the Great War because it was the largest, most devastating war up to then in history. Over 20 million civilians and military members were killed and another 21 million were wounded. Some teachers tell us we study history so that we can learn from our mistakes. Just what are we not getting right?

Until 1938, when Armistice Day became a federal holiday, the President proclaimed a national observance every November 11. In 1955, federal legislation was passed to change the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day. The reason was quite obvious—to honor the millions of veterans who had served in two more wars, namely World War II and Korean War. Since then, we have added to the veteran rolls, millions and millions more of men and women who had served in Vietnam, Persian Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and numerous other military conflicts. Thank you, all!

In Hollister, the local VFW branches will honor all military veterans from San Benito County with a parade through downtown. It'll take place at noon this Tuesday. Check it out, if you happen to be there.

If not, wherever you are on Tuesday, take a few minutes to reflect on all the courageous men and women who have served and are now serving in military services throughout the world. Also give pause to think about this thing called war, and another thing called peace.

1 comment:

  1. America's oldest living Medal of Honor recipient, living his 100th year is former enlisted Aviation Chief Ordnanceman (ACOM), later wartime commissioned Lieutenant John W. Finn, USN (Ret.). He is also the last surviving Medal of Honor, "The Day of Infamy", Japanese Attack on the Hawaiian Islands, Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, 7 December 1941.

    'Navy Centenarian Sailor', 103 year old, former enlisted Aviation Chief Radioman (ACRM, Combat Aircrewman), later wartime commissioned Chief Warrant Officer Julio 'Jay' Ereneta, U. S. Navy (Ret.) is a thirty year career veteran of World War One and World War Two. He first flew aircrewman in August 1922; flew rearseat radioman/gunner in the 1920s/1930s air squadrons of the Navy's first aircraft carriers, USS LANGLEY (CV-1) and USS LEXINGTON (CV-2).

    Visit my photo album tribute to these veteran shipmates:

    San Diego, California


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