Veteran’s Day is a federal holiday made to honor veterans all across the country. For many it’s a day of reflection. A veteran is not a one-size-fits all title. Even within the same unit, each service member will have a different experience, some painful, some triumphant, and some…both.
White Pine held several events during the weekend honoring veterans, including the wreath laying and ceremony at the White Pine Courthouse.
This holiday originally started as a day to reflect upon the heroism of those who died in our country’s services and was originally called Armistice Day. It fell on Nov. 11, because that is the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I.
However, in 1954, the holiday was changed to “Veteran’s Day” in order to account for all veterans in all wars.
Speakers were Mayor Melody Van Camp, Chairman of the White Pine County Commission Richard Howe, Ken Curto, Commander of the American Legion White Pine Post 3 and Jessie Cox, Commander of James Post of the VFW 3547.
The weather was a chilling 40 degrees, but still a crowd of 30 or more came out to honor Veteran’s during the ceremony.
VanCamp said, “Welcome everybody, in the summer of 1914, Babe Ruth was beginning to play for the Boston Red Sox, a loaf of bread cost six cents, Henry Ford’s Model T cost $500. One in three Americans lived on a farm, women could vote, but only in 12 states, the US Army ranked 17th in the world just behind Serbia and the U.S. boasted a population of a 100 million.”
Richard Howe spoke about several different wars, and spoke about his service in Vietnam.
“We’re here to recognize veterans, these fellas right over here, many of you other ones, myself included, the draft was imposed. World War I came and left, the war that was to end all wars, but what happened 30 years later? The Germans invaded, the United States jumped in to protect the world again in 1941, without us, where we live today, would be a totally different world. In 1945, we thought was the end of war, Korea, 1950, again young men, many from that high school right there, stepped forward and the United States stepped in again.”
Howe went on to describe how protesters would stand and call the soldiers names, and spit on them as they walked off the plane.
“We recognize almost every young man who entered into service was in the building right there, that opened in 1913, and through the 70’s and the 90’s that’s where we all came from. We came from different walks of life. We had mining, we worked hard, when we went into service, we were prepared, because we were patriots,” Howe said.
Ken Curto, commander of Post 3 with the American Legion, spoke before the crowd, reminiscing Armestice Day.
“The war that was so bloody and horrific, it was to end all wars, but sadly it didn’t.” Curto went on to talk about the millions of lives lost during the war, and the creation of the famous poem Flanders Fields.
Curto said, “We owe it to them all to ensure their service and sacrifice is always remembered. To our Veterans we say, thank you for all you do for our country. God Bless you, and god bless our Veterans, and God Bless the United States of America.”
The last person to speak was Cox. He said, “It is truly an honor to join with you today as we recognize all of America’s veterans, all of the soldiers, marines, airmen, and coast guardsmen who selflessly gone wherever they were called to serve. This Veteran’s Day has a extra special meaning. Marking 100 years ago, on the 11th hour of the 11th day, on the 11th month in 1918, the great war, the war to end all wars, finally ended. Originally created in recognition of the end of World War I, the first Veteran’s Day was observed Nov. 11, 1921 in Arlington National Cemetery, and was marked by the burial of unknown soldier for World War I.”
Nearly a 100 years later as many gather on Veteran’s Day to reflect on those who have fought to enjoy the freedoms that every american enjoys, there are thousands of men and women in the military once again taking up arms against the enemies of our way of life.
Cox said, “For those of us, who have worn, or continue to wear the uniform of our great country, and to our family members who stand just as strong at home, there is no doubt that Veteran’s Day brings with it a meaningful significance. It is on this day that we honor the the contributions and sacrifices of the more than 22 million Veterans, and service members who have proudly served our country. Every generation of Americans undoubtedly owes, gratitude to these people. “
One could say that veterans may understand the meaning of America the most. And for those who care to honor American heroes, gather because they are honoring sons, and daughters, mothers and fathers, and brothers and sisters, who are serving on behalf of everyone in our great country.