Editor’s Note: The distinguished guest author of this article is District 2 Commander, Dr. Dennis Edwards, Rapid City American Legion Post 22.
As we celebrate Veterans Day 2012 our thoughts and prayers are with those veterans who are still making sacrifices to keep our country safe. There can never be enough done or said to show our respect and gratitude for what our veterans have done, and are continuing to do each and every day, to keep us safe so that we can enjoy the freedom we have.
Short history of how Veterans Day evolved.
Although U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day for November 11, 1919, the US Congress passed a concurrent resolution seven years later requesting President Calvin Coolidge issue another proclamation to observe November 11 with appropriate ceremonies. On May 13, 1938 a congressional act made the 11th of November in each year “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to thereafter celebrated and known as Armistice Day.”
In 1945, WWII veteran Raymond Weeks had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans not just those who died in WWI. On May 26, 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed the bill into law. Congress amended this act on June1, 1954 replacing “Armistice” with “Veterans” and it has been known as Veterans Day since.
On this Veterans Day, as we celebrate with parades and free dinners for veterans and their families, we need to stop and pause, and pay tribute to the brave men and women who fought and are still fighting for their country. Also remember those veterans who have returned home and those who each day are returning home.
We owe them more than a special day; we owe them a special day each and every day. When you see a vet reach out your hand and shake his/her hand and welcome him/her home. Thank them for their service and tell them how proud you are of them.
Veterans are a special group of people. They share a brotherhood/sisterhood that only a vet can feel and know. Their exchange of handshakes with each other is a grip that relays a sense of “we are in this together,” and “I got your back.” They hurt with honor, and they feel and heal with honor.
As District 2 Commander, it is with gratitude and pride, honor and privilege that I extend to all veterans a heartfelt thank you for all that you have done and are still doing for our country. God Bless you and God Bless this great country.