Veterans Day is Saturday – a day to honor and recognize our veterans

Published 11:06 am Tuesday, November 7, 2023

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Saturday, November 11 is Veterans Day, a day to honor the men and women who have served our country.
This day honors all American veterans – those who sacrificed their lives and those who survived, those who served in war and in peacetime, and men and women of all races, backgrounds, and faith.
Take a walk by the Veterans War Memorial in downtown Elizabethton, and you find scores of names inscribed on the Wall of Honor and the branch of service they were in…it’s only a fraction of the men and women, who have served this nation in the military. Some served in World War I and II, others in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Across the street inscribed on black granite monuments are the names of Carter Countians who lost their lives in these wars.
Veterans Day is one of the most meaningful, profoundly significant days on the calendar, Yet, too many Americans today give it only passing thought as they prepare for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Distinct from Memorial Day, which honors those who died in military service, Veterans Day was once a time for parades and large ceremonies. Some vestiges of those traditions remain, but many salutes today are smaller and more subdued as the world wars fade into history and veterans of more recent conflicts, beginning with Vietnam, are honored in ways less about pomp than reflection.
Calling Veterans Day a holiday is linguistically true, but still represents a misnomer of sorts. Most Americans equate holidays with celebration, but this is more an occasion for respect and gratitude.
Once upon a time, there was cause for celebration. Hostilities in World War I ended with an armistice on Nov. 11, 1918, and the date was recognized as Armistice Day until 1954, when the name was changed.
In 1971, Veterans Day was among several moved to Monday. After seven such years, it was restored to its true date — the only Monday holiday to regain its historic place on the calendar.
Even the name matters. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs insists on “Veterans Day,” with no apostrophe, because as it says, “it is not a day that belongs to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans.”
So true. The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays will come in due time. No other form of recognition should overshadow Veterans Day.
Veterans often express concern that their service is being forgotten. The least Americans can do for their men and women who served is to make certain they know that will never happen in a country that exists through their duty and sacrifice.
There will be a Veterans Day service Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Veterans Wall of Honor downtown, and many churches on Sunday will recognize and honor their veterans. If you know a veteran, seek him or her out, and thank them for their service.

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