November 11th is Veterans Day, a holiday that many people take advantage of instead of honoring. To most Americans, Veterans Day is just a day off school or work, but the truth is that Veterans Day is a day meant to honor the brave men and women who have previously served in our United States Military.
Veterans Day originally started out as Armistice Day, a day in which memorial gestures were made to celebrate the end of World War I, which ended in the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month, November 11th, 1918, at 11:00 AM. The first celebration with the name of “Veterans Day” took place in Birmingham, Alabama in 1947.
The celebration was organized by a World War II vet by the name of Raymond Weeks, who introduced it as a festival to honor all who have served in our military. After this celebration occurred, a bill was introduced that officially changed Armistice Day to Veteran’s Day, which was later approved by President Eisenhower. Raymond Weeks later received the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Reagan in November of 1982.
These celebrations started by Weeks continue to this day, with cities all across America holding celebrations to honor those who have served. I myself had the pleasure of attending one of these events right here in Mission Viejo which featured many booths with free food and drinks for the Veterans and their families, as well as for those working the event.
While I was there I witnessed the presentation of colors by our Marines, a three volley rifle salute, and a beautiful rendition of taps. I had the amazing opportunity to meet the commander of Camp Pendleton, Brigadier General Jason G. Woodworth, and I was honored to speak and learn from the veterans there.
While I was at the event, surrounded by all these men and women who devoted their lives to protecting our country, I had a very strong feeling of gratitude. Gratitude for these people who gave everything to serve our country, who put their lives on the line so citizens would never have to. I felt thankful that I was so blessed to live under the blanket of security that their sacrifice provided and continues to provide.
I ask that even though the day has passed, all of you reading this take a moment out of your day to think of those giving those same sacrifices right now, and to be grateful. Feel that same gratitude that you live in a free country, and be thankful to those who provide it. No matter what day it is, remember to never take the sacrifices our armed forces make for granted.