November 11 - Veterans Day
I have often set my stories in war times. When you're writing historical stories as I do, then you sometimes look for eras when the history was dramatic. War times certainly fit the bill for much conflict and character growth. But in the process of writing with so many war backgrounds I've done a lot of reading about wars and about the soldiers who fought those wars. It's one thing to make up characters to fight in wars. It's quite another to read about those men and women who actually did the fighting and serving and get a glimpse of the hardships and horrors they endured while responding with steadfast courage. Veterans deserve our thanks and gratitude for standing in the gap to defend our country in times of war and peace.
The War to End All Wars
I researched World War I for my novel, Angel Sister. In that story we relive many of the experiences of Victor, the father in the story, and how the war continued to affect his life years later. In my research, I kept coming across how everyone expected that war to be "the war to end all wars." It is because of the armistice of that war that we celebrate Veterans Day on November 11. The Treaty of Versailles wasn't signed until June 28, 1919, but fighting had ceased seven months earlier when an armistice went into effect between the Allies and Germany on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. And so that is the date generally regarded as the end of that war to end all wars and why we celebrate on November 11.
At first the holiday was called Armistice Day. But then that war did not end all wars. Not even two decades passed before we were embroiled in another World War. I've read about those soldiers too. Young men, some only eighteen or nineteen, flying bombing raids, storming beaches, doing what had to be done for our country and for the world. So, after that war and the Korean War, the name of the holiday was changed from Armistice Day to Veterans Day.
Keeping the Date November 11
The Uniform Holiday Bill was passed in 1968, changing the observance of many of our holidays to Mondays. Beginning in 1971, Veterans Day was officially changed to the last Monday in October. Many believed changing the date lost the historical significance of the holiday and they refused to change their observance of the day to the new date. After several years of confusion, in 1978, the holiday was changed back to November 11, preserving the historical significance of the date and keeping the focus of the celebration on honoring America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
Thanks to Our Veterans
"The veterans of our military services have put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms that we enjoy. They have dedicated their lives to their country and deserve to be recognize for their commitment." ~Judd Gregg
Thank you, veterans and families of veterans too.
For more information about the history of Veterans Day, you can check out this link - http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp