A Brief History of Veterans Day (borrowed from “Military.com”)

Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918. In legislation that was passed in 1938, November 11 was "dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day.'" As such, this new legal holiday honored World War I veterans.

In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress -- at the urging of the veterans service organizations -- amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

In 1968, the Uniforms Holiday Bill ensured three-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. Under this bill, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holiday on its original date. The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on Oct. 25, 1971.

Finally on September 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a law which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of Nov. 11, beginning in 1978. Since then, the Veterans Day holiday has been observed on that date.

United States Senate Resolution 143, which was passed on Aug. 4, 2001, designated the week of Nov. 11 through Nov. 17, 2001, as "National Veterans Awareness Week." The resolution calls for educational efforts directed at elementary and secondary school students concerning the contributions and sacrifices of veterans.

Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

Today, on Veterans Day, I wish to acknowledge, honor and thank all who have served and are currently serving in the Armed Forces.   

My father, George Kamienowski (Army Air Corps) served in the Pacific during WWII.

My uncle, Stanley Zagajeski, served in the Army during WWII in North Africa and in France.

He was wounded in battle and taken prisoner of war.  After a telegram was received that he was in a hospital in France, my uncle and aunt, Henry Zagajeski and Lillian Zagajeski Yambor (Army), also stationed in France, traveled across the country to find him and report to their family back home.

My uncle, Thomas (Rocky) Urgo (Marines) served two tours in the Pacific during WWII, my uncle, Steve Yambor (Army), my cousins, John Sullivan (Marines), Peter McDonald (Army & National Guard), David Bernier (Marines), my friends,  Michael James Graham (Army & National Guard), Jack Glenn (Army-Special Forces), Ken Klingele (Army), Martin Nichols (Army), Philip Wondolowski (Navy) and currently serving, Jose Pincay (Marines), Andrew Wondolowski (Navy), Daniel Brennan (Navy) and  Ben Bell (Army).

I also wish to remember my godson/nephew, Private Nils George Thompson, who was killed in action by a sniper in Mosul, Iraq, one day after his 19th birthday (8/4/05).

Please say a prayer for all those who have served and are serving today in the Armed Forces.  Thank the Veterans for their service to our country, shake their hands and attend a Parade.  In New York City, the Veterans Day Parade is preceded by the traditional opening ceremony at 10:00 a.m. at the Eternal Light Monument, 24th St. and 5th Ave. next to Madison Square Park and concludes with a wreath laying at 11:00 a.m. (The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). The Parade ends at 46th St. at 3:30 p.m. This year will mark the centennial of the end of World War One, and honors the U.S. Army as the featured service branch.  This "Veterans Day USA" parade is the oldest and largest parade of its kind in the United States.

Posted by Joan Coogan on


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