Why we honor our veterans

Posted: Thursday, November 11, 2010

Today is Veterans Day.

You know why this day is really special? Because it's simple.

There are no holiday sales. There's no bowl games on TV that must be watched and analyzed.

There's no big dinners to prepare, meaning we don't have to invite lots of relatives to the house and be entertaining and charming.

There's no ambiguity to this holiday, and no social pressure, really.

Veterans Day exists for one very simple reason. 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.

This is an American holiday, home grown. And it has but the one simple purpose.

In short: Veterans Day is meant to honor military veterans, and the peace they gave their all for. That's all; that's enough.

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