Honoring those who served
By Ed Schmitt, co-leader, Argonne Veterans Group
Saturday, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day. On this day, we honor all who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces and recognize their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
The holiday has its origins in Armistice Day, created by President Woodrow Wilson in a proclamation on Nov. 11, 1919, to commemorate the end of major hostilities in World War 1 at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.
A 1954 Act of Congress established the holiday as Veterans Day. President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first Veterans Day Proclamation that year saying, “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose.”
For me, the purpose of this day is to reflect on the service, sacrifice and history of veterans from every branch of service. As a Marine veteran, I can trace my history to the Corp’s founding inside Tun Tavern and to the battlefield of Belleau Wood where fierce fighting earned the Marines the “Devil Dog” nickname.
I also reflect on my service during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and remember those I served with. I am sure other veterans take this day to reflect on their service, their traditions and how they and their branch of service have shaped our nation’s history. I believe it is important that we honor veterans on Veterans Day, but it is equally important to recognize the rich history our country’s veterans have and have provided.
It is in the spirit of the first Veterans Day Proclamation — to bring people together to observe this holiday — that the Argonne Veterans Group will host a Veterans Fair Thursday, Nov. 9, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Building 213 Cafeteria. We will have service representatives from the Veterans Administration there to answer questions and provide information on benefits. Also present will be K9s for Veterans, an organization that works to help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder transition back to civilian life once their military service has ended with the help of trained service dogs.
The Argonne Veterans Group is open to, and supports, veterans, family and friends of veterans, and veteran supporters, and strives to help veterans year round. By coming together and increasing our membership, we hope to provide access to more resources like those featured in the upcoming fair, as well as to bring awareness to topics of interest and concern to veterans.
If you are a veteran, I invite you to stop by the fair tomorrow to say hello, sign up for the Argonne Veterans group mailing list and receive a voucher for a free lunch at the Bistro 213 Work Café. If you are not a veteran, please stop by and shake the hand of one. They have earned it, and so much more.