In my research I am constantly reminded of those who served by the military caps they wear. Be it the increasingly rare survivors of WWI and WWII, or the Korean War, Vietnam, perhaps our most recent skirmishes, these hats are a symbol, proudly worn, representing those whose lives were altered in defense of our country.
That is why we should understand and observe Veterans Day.
The horrors of World War I formally halted when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. This prodigious day arrived on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.
One year later, on November 11, 1919, in conjunction with the other countries who celebrate the anniversary of end of WWI, Woodrow Wilson spoke these prophetic words from the White House to his countrymen in observance of the first Armistice Day.
”…We (The Americans) were able to bring the vast resources, material and moral, of a great and free people to the assistance of our associates in Europe who had suffered and sacrificed without limit in the cause for which we fought. Out of this victory there arose new possibilities of political freedom and economic concert. The war showed us the strength of great nations acting together for high purposes, and the victory of arms foretells the enduring conquests which can be made in peace when nations act justly and in furtherance of the common interests of men.”
On May 13, 1938 the US Congress approved a resolution to mark November 11th as “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.”
As World War II came to an end in 1945, Raymond Weeks proposed to General Dwight Eisenhower that Armistice Day should celebrate all veterans. Time marched on, as did the increasing parades for veterans, and in 1954 congress amended the bill and replaced “Armistice” with “Veterans.” The persistent Weeks became known as the “The Father of Veterans Day.”
So it is that on Veterans Day we celebrate those who served in the United States military. On Memorial Day, in May, we remember those who gave their lives during service.
Either day, and every day, we should give thanks to those who selflessly dedicated their time in order to provide us with the freedom we now enjoy. We should honor this day as it was intended “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace” and those who help us maintain that precious gift of peace.
Remember, when you see a veteran wearing their cap which signifies their service, tip your hat at them in thanks.