Monday is Veterans Day, a day this nation has set aside for more than seven decades to honor those who serve in the American military.
As we mark the occasion, it’s important to recall its roots. This is not, after all, a celebration of war, but a celebration of those members of the armed forces who have stepped up to defend this nation’s many freedoms.
The observance dates to 1938, when Congress designated Nov. 11 as Armistice Day, “dedicated to the cause of world peace.” The day honored veterans of World War I, “the war to end all wars.”
World War I had come to an end at 11 a.m. Nov. 11, 1918, and Americans celebrated that moment on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
Too soon, though, the world was again at war. More than 16 million Americans fought in World War II, and more than 400,000 of them died.
In 1954, President Dwight David Eisenhower signed a law proclaiming Nov. 11 as Veterans Day, an observance intended to honor living veterans who served honorably both in times of war and times of peace.
The American military fights on in far-flung places around the world, and many of our nation’s best and brightest make the ultimate sacrifice in the prime of their lives.
We should all take a few moments Monday — and every day — to acknowledge these brave men and women. Send up a prayer for those who fought in past wars and for those who still fight today.
And let us think back on how this observance got started, as a day to celebrate world peace. May that day finally arrive.
THE ISSUE Monday is Veterans Day. OUR VIEW