Monday is Veterans Day and I hope you can take time to honor, in your own way, the Veterans who served our country – whether it is by watching or participating in the Veterans Day parade which starts at 11:00; or attending the community potluck at the Oregon Veterans’ Home following the parade hosted by the VFW Post and Auxiliary 2471. Or how about showing your appreciation year-round by deciding to volunteer at the Wasco County Veterans Service Office.
The Veterans Service Office works hard to support our veterans and their surviving spouses by assisting them with veterans claims. This includes disability compensation, non-service connected pensions for war period veterans, aid and attendance, VA health care, education benefits, VA loan information, and more. To answer any questions, Veterans Services Officer Patrick Wilbern will be at the Center from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm on Tuesday, November 12th. Or you can attend his presentation at Flagstone Senior Living on November 13th from 1:30 – 3:00.
But what do you know about Veterans Day? Here are a few facts I found on the U.S. Department of Defense website.
1) There is no apostrophe in Veterans Day. The holiday is not a day that “belongs” to one veteran or multiple veterans, as an apostrophe would imply. It’s a day for honoring all veterans.
2) Veterans Day is not the same as Memorial Day. Memorial Day is a time to remember those who gave their lives for our country. Veterans Day honors all of those who have served the country in war or peace whether living or not – although it’s largely intended to thank living veterans for their sacrifices.
3) Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day commemorating the end of World War I. World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919. However, the fighting ended when the Allies and Germany put into effect an armistice on “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”. For that reason, Nov. 11, 1918, was largely considered the end of “the war to end all wars” and dubbed Armistice Day. In 1926, Congress officially recognized it as the end of the war, and in 1938, it became an official holiday, primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I.
But then World War II and the Korean War happened, so on June 1, 1954, at the urging of veterans service organizations, Congress amended the commemoration by changing the word “armistice” to “veterans” so the day would honor American veterans of all wars.
4) For a while Veterans Day was officially recognized on the fourth Monday of every October. Congress signed the Uniform Holiday Bill in 1968 to ensure that a few federal holidays including Veterans Day would be celebrated on a Monday hoping it would encourage travel and other family activities over a long weekend.
On Oct. 25, 1971, the first Veterans Day under this new bill was held and as you would guess, there was confusion about the change. Within a few years, it became apparent the public wanted to celebrate Veterans Day on November 11th, since it was a matter of historic and patriotic significance. On Sept. 20, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed another law which returned the annual observance to its original date.
Now to last week’s “Remember When” question. The name of the Russian-like spies working to “catch Moose and Squirrel” in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show were Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale working for the dictator Fearless Leader. I received correct answers from Cheri Brent, Carole Earl, Jess Birge, Rhonda Spies, Lana Tepfer, and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket Barbara Cadwell.
My high school class showed their unique sense of humor by using the #1 hit song “Flowers on the Wall” as the theme for their spring dance – since many of us were considered “wallflowers”. For this week’s ‘Remember When’ question, what musical group recorded “Flowers on the Wall”; was Johnny Cash’s backing vocals for over eight years; and hosted their own show on The Nashville Network? Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a brand of facial tissue the band was named after – and it wasn’t Kleenex!
Well, it’s been another week, trying to stay ahead of the curve. Until we meet again, as my wife said to me, “You know you’re old when you can’t recognize half of the Halloween costumes. (And what or who is Marshmellow?)
“The reward of one duty is the power to fulfill another.” George Eliot