Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Commander Peters: Tell a Vet, ‘Thank you for your service’
Veteran’s Day 2014: Message from Dept. of NY Commander Frank Peters
On the morning of November 11, 1918, Allied and German powers met in France to sign an armistice that ended World War I. The agreement went into effect at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. One year later President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the First Armistice Day to call the nation’s attention to those who had sacrificed so much for our county:
“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.” – Woodrow Wilson.
Following World War II, a national movement was started to expand the holiday’s purpose to honor all veterans, not just those who served in World War I. On June 1, 1954, Congress officially renamed “Armistice Day” as “Veterans Day” and thereby expanded the recognition of the holiday to include veterans of all American wars. The first Veterans Day Proclamation was issued by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on October 8, 1954:
WHEREAS it has long been our custom to commemorate November 11, the anniversary of the ending of World War I, by paying tribute to the heroes of that tragic struggle and by rededicating ourselves to the cause of peace; and
WHEREAS in the intervening years the United States has been involved in two other great military conflicts, which have added millions of veterans living and dead to the honor rolls of this Nation;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, President of the United States of America, do hereby call upon all of our citizens to observe Thursday, November 11, 1954, as Veterans Day. On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us re-consecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.
Unlike Memorial Day; which is set aside to remember and honor veterans now deceased — both those who were killed in the line of duty and those who have since passed away — Veterans Day is a day to thank and recognize veterans who are still living, and, in many cases, still serving.
This Veterans Day, American Legion members of the Department of New York join with all veterans across this nation and pause at the eleventh hour to solemnly reflect upon the great sacrifices of the men and women who fought to preserve our liberties; to extend a hand to a fellow veteran and say, “Thank you for your service,” and to graciously acknowledge the sincere gratitude of the men, women and children who shout out “thank you” as we parade up Fifth Avenue or down any Main Street of the Great State of New York.
On this Veterans Day let us rededicate ourselves to principle of the Preamble to the Constitution of the American Legion. To uphold and defend the ideals for which the fallen have given their lives; To promote a 100% Americanism; To care for our Nation’s children & youth, especially the children of our fallen comrades; To advocate for a strong National defense and the care and rehabilitation of all veterans who suffer from wounds, disease and want.
— For God and Country, Frank J. Peters, Commander, Department of New York