Opinion

People have forgotten the meaning behind Veteran’s Day

Guest Column: Military Student Affairs McClain Mercer

What do we know about Veterans Day? To start, it’s to honor those that have served in the Armed Forces.

However, it has a greater significance than that. World War I ended in an Armistice that occurred on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson formally observed Nov. 11 as Armistice Day as the anniversary of the armistice that ended the war.

In 1921, the day was commemorated with the burial of an Unknown Soldier from World War I at the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

This is a significant moment because, in 1938, Armistice Day became a national holiday.

While people celebrated the day World War I came to an end, the name was changed to “Veterans Day” in 1954 to honor those who had served in all United States wars.

The United States is not the only nation to have a veterans day. Great Britain observes it on the second Sunday of November, known as Remembrance Sunday. It is a common act to follow two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, when the Great War came to an Armistice.

Today, people celebrate Veterans Day with ceremonies placing flowers across the gravestones in the Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

It is a day that we honor all those who have served in the Armed Forces. In 1968, the Federal Government passed a bill that would give a three-day weekend to four significant holidays, Veterans Day being one of them.

The primary intent of these long weekends for Federal Employees is to stimulate more outstanding industrial and commercial production.

They had hoped that a long weekend would encourage more travel, recreational and cultural activities.

For Veterans Day this year, I encourage each one of you to get to know a veteran. Invite them to lunch or head to the Cardinal Commons to grab a coffee from Starbucks.

Ask them why Veterans Day is important because each veteran had a different reason for their calling to service.

It’s essential to get to know your fellow students or faculty and staff. Not only does this bring us closer as a community, but it emphasizes Veterans Day in a way that people don’t usually think about.

Take this time to reflect on the reasoning behind this holiday and why it exists today. For although it started by ending one war, it has continued by the countless brave men and women who have taken up the call to duty.

Find out what the day means to a veteran because it has a different meaning to each person that serves.

For many, this day represents their love of country and their patriotism. It also shows their willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

Many of us know all major conflicts in the past hundred years: World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the modern-day Global War on Terrorism.

Each one of these have had a different view with the public, and different reasons for serving.

The important take away is that, in each conflict, people selflessly serve their nation to protect those in need.

That is where we should place our focus this Veterans Day: for those in our community, or family and friends that have served.

Honor them with a two-minute silence at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11. If you are looking for another way to honor our military connected students, you can stop by the TSAR at 2 p.m. for a Veterans Day Ceremony hosted by the Military Student Affairs Office.

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