As we approach Veterans Day, I would like you to remember the history of Veterans Day. It originated as Armistice Day and marked the end of hostilities of World War I that occurred at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month.
Therefore, the day is always recognized on Nov. 11, regardless of the day of the week the 11th falls on. There was a pause in activities at 11 a.m. on that day.
In 1919, President Wilson commemorated the first Armistice Day with these words:
“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 nation."
In 1938, it was made a legal federal holiday for all.
In 1954 the word “armistice" was replaced with “veterans."
After World War II and the Korean War, Congress recognized a need to expand the meaning of the day to recognize all of our veterans.
Veterans Day is a day not only to remember those who died in service to our country, but also to recognize those who continue to serve today.
Nov. 11 is a day to remember what these men and women did for our country. What each person gave to help keep our nation free and give the American people the opportunities they have, freedom.
One day a year is not enough, we must remember daily and be in gratitude for all we have been given. The men and women of our military give up their normal life to answer a calling that is greater than you or I.
So as Veterans Day comes and then goes, please remember those who have given so much. The families who waited for them to come home, and their children who waited for their mom or dad to return. Remember the families that their loved one did not come home and they are still missing them and working with their grief.
When the Forgotten Soldier Program travels to Mather VA to work with the veterans, there are such visible signs of what the price of freedom cost. The wheelchairs that are rolling down the side walk, the veteran on crutches, the breathing machines being rolled beside the veteran, a veteran that is holding his dog on his lap as the wife pushes his wheelchair. The visible signs of freedom are everywhere.
There is such a great depth of Veterans Day that touches my heart. So please remember those in uniform every day and pray for their safe return. Remember those that have been lost and gave the ultimate, their life. The men and women of our country deserve to be recognize every day, not just on Veterans Day.
Donna Arz is the founder of the Forgotten Soldier Program and Integrative Healthcare Services in Auburn.