Today is Veterans’ Day, a time set aside each year to thank and honor veterans for their service and sacrifice.
That reason was first expressed by President Woodrow Wilson when he proclaimed the first of what was called Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919:
“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with lots of 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.”
Wilson was marking the first anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. The day was meant to celebrate peace, and to honor WWI veterans.
Congress made it a legal holiday in 1938. Over the years, the honoring of all veterans was included, and Congress changed the holiday’s name to Veterans Day in 1954.
With Americans — including many from the Kenai Peninsula — currently serving in harm’s way, and with our area home to many more veterans, let’s use today’s observances as a reminder not just to thank our veterans today, but to give thanks for their service and sacrifice — as well as all those who have sacrificed to support them on the homefront — year round.