Published: Sun, November 12, 2017
World | By Melba Underwood

Honor our veterans today and every day

Honor our veterans today and every day

Today represents Americans' opportunity - and, indeed, our duty - to stand and salute those who have served in this nation's military. It especially is a day to thank living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.

Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a US legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918.

Today - Nov. 11 - is Veterans Day in the United States.

One year later, in November 1919, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.

Committee members went through high school yearbooks, posted announcements at local businesses and veterans organizations to collect the names of those who served to add to the memorial. Congress made it a legal holiday in 1938. In practice, however, states nearly always follow the federal lead. Although estimates vary, roughly 50 million people lost their lives in World War II, making it the largest and most destructive war of all time. A version of it appears again this year in honor of Veterans Day.

The next development in the story of Veterans Day unfolded in 1968, when Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, which sought to ensure three-day weekends for federal employees-and encourage tourism and travel-by celebrating four national holidays (Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Columbus Day) on Mondays.

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At a time when our country continues to suffer losses overseas and soldiers are returning forever changed, emotionally and physically, we can not forget what veterans have given up for us and our country.

Issues affecting veterans have been in the news of late, from obtaining timely health care and treatment at Veterans Administration medical facilities to raising awareness of the number of veterans who commit suicide each day.

In the United States, an official wreath-laying ceremony is held each Veterans Day at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, while parades and other celebrations are held in states around the country.

" Monticello offers free admission to USA veterans to the house and grounds".

With many Americans - including many from the Kenai Peninsula - now serving, and with our area home to many more veterans, let's use Saturday's observances as a reminder not just to honor the service and sacrifice of our nation's veterans today, but to continue to work toward meeting the needs of veterans every day.

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