Veterans Day — Thank you for serving

Veterans Day is an official U.S. holiday observed annually on Nov. 11  honoring military veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces.  This year, Nov.  11 is on a Sunday with Monday as a federal holiday.  The history of Veterans Day began with World War I  with the armistice which was a cessation of hostilities by mutual agreement or a truce.  The agreement was signed and was the beginning of Armistice Day.  World War I officially ended June 28, 1919 with the treaty of Versailles.  The actual fighting between the Allies and Germany ended seven months earlier with the armistice which went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.  Armistice Day officially became a holiday in the U.S. in 1926 and a National Holiday called Veterans Day on June 1, 1954.  In 1968, the legislature changed the National Commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October.  Veterans Day was finally given the historical significance of Nov. 11 in 1978.

Veterans Day is a very special day at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery with an 11 a.m. service with a combined color guard representing all military services.“Present Arms” is spoken and a Presidential wreath is placed at the tomb and Taps are played in honor of all fallen military represented at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

     Veterans Day is celebrated all around the country as each community plans parades, special military services, special programs and dinners to honor those who fought for their country.  The total of veterans in 2015 was 18.8 million.  The number of female in the military totaled 1.6. million.  Recently, President Trump extended the Veterans Day celebration through the entire month of November.  This is a special anniversary of the end of World War I and President Trump has designated November 2018 as National Veterans and Military Families month.

     As always, Upshur County has a parade, special programs and events.  On Nov. 11 a Veterans Day Breakfast will be held at Chapel Hill UMC in the Fellowship Hall beginning at 8 a.m.  Veterans who have served or are serving in the military are invited to share in this special breakfast.  Soldiers of the Cross will be sharing special music with those attending. The Veterans Parade is scheduled on Monday, Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m. ending at Jawbone Park.  Veterans will also have a special program at the V.F.W. at 11 a.m.  There will be a special Veterans Program at the Wal Mart Store beginning at 2 p.m. Everyone should visit Heavner Cemetery during Veterans weekend. Through the generosity of the V.F.W., American Legion and many families of veterans who have died, you will see the beautiful American flags flying along every entrance into the cemetery.  Folks may purchase one of these large flags along with a flagpole and have it placed close to a veteran you wish to honor.  The cost is $100.   The V.F.W. or City Hall can make these arrangements.  The flags are flown during special times honoring our veterans.

Check the local newspapers for information on the events for Veterans Day. 

I found this poem and wish to share it with you.

Remember our Veterans.

On Veterans Day we honor all,     

Who answered to a service call.

Soldiers young, and soldiers old.                     

Fought for freedom, brave and bold.

Some have lived, while others died,           

And all of them deserve our pride.

We’re proud of all the soldiers who        

Kept thinking of red, white and blue. 

They fought for us and all our rights,               

They fought through many days and nights.

And though we may not know each name,        

We thank ALL veterans just the same.

    I also found this poem written by Lt. Col. John McCrae on May 3, 1915 during the second battle of Ypres, Belgium. This poem was written the day after Lt. Col. McCrae lost one of his war buddies. The poem is a famous memorial poem of World War I. When we think of poppies, we think of our veterans.  When you see folks wearing poppies during special veterans events, think of this poem.

Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow.

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place: and in the sky,

The larks still bravely singing fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below;

We are dead: Short days ago,

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved; and now we lie

in Flanders Fields!

Take up our quarrel with the foe. 

To you, from failing hands, we throw the torch;

be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die,

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

in Flanders Fields.      

   The Walk of Valor in Jaw Bone Park is a wonderful salute to our military families.  As you walk along the many pictures of our saluted veterans, think of all who put their plans aside, went into battle for our country and many never came home.  We are so proud of all who served and serve in the military all over the world.  We thank you for your service.