Ever heard of Armistice Day? Veterans Day? “Armistice” refers to a cessation of war, a temporary peace, a truce between enemies.
A “veteran” is an old soldier, a seasoned fighter from some former war.
On June 4, 1929, at the end of World War I, the U.S. Congress passed the following legislation:
“WHEREAS the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
WHEREAS it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designated to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations, and
WHEREAS the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 as a legal holiday: THEREFORE be it resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a Proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11, and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relation with all peoples.”
May 13th, 1938, saw Congress enacting this Resolution: “…the 11th of November in each year shall be a legal holiday — a day dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as Armistice Day.”
What began as Armistice Day eventually became Veterans Day. In 1954, the 83rd Congress amended the Act of 1938 by replacing the word “Armistice” with the word “Veterans.” So, November 11 has become a Day to honor American veterans of all wars for their patriotism, their love of country, and their willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf War, are for many, merely dates and places in a history book. For those who fought in those wars, the conflicts were personal and costly! For the families who waited tensely at home, hoping for fathers and sons to return safely, these conflicts were all-too-real!
Let this Veterans Day be a time for all of us to give thanks for the blessings and freedoms we enjoy. Let us say an extra prayer for peace in our world, and strive to make those prayers come true.
Let’s say “thank you” to some veteran, or some veteran’s family.
Let’s remember that war is too costly, and that in the end war solves nothing.
Our veterans sacrificed much for peace & freedom; might we strive for those same things!
By Dr. Don Kuehle
(Dr. Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist pastor in Missouri.)