Today represents Americans' opportunity - and, indeed, our duty - to stand and salute those who have served in this nation's military. All are there to honor the service of our nation's veterans on this important day. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of "the war to end all wars".
One day isn't enough. The holiday has endured just as mankind's penchant for armed conflict has endured through World War II, wars in Korea and Vietnam, and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with lesser conflicts scattered about.
Fixed on November 11 - the anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I - the holiday is not to be confused with Memorial Day, a commemoration each May in honor of those who died while in military service. Congress made it a legal holiday in 1938.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs latest census (2016), there are approximately 20 million living American veterans, of whom approximately 1.4 million served in Korea; 6.6 million served during Vietnam; 7.2 million served during the Gulf War (s) (1990 to today); 550,000 served in WWII (a total of 16 million Americans served during WWII); and 4.7 million served in times of peace. Our support and appreciation for our veterans needs to extend beyond the weekend's observances. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production.
On June 4, 1926, Congress passed a resolution that the "recurring anniversary of [November 11, 1918] should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises created to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations", and that the president should issue an annual proclamation calling for the observance of Armistice Day.
Help by supporting local veterans organizations, which provide tremendous support for and advocacy on behalf of veterans. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important goal of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
At a time when our country continues to suffer losses overseas and soldiers are returning forever changed, emotionally and physically, we can not forget what veterans have given up for us and our country.
The day offers parents and teachers an opportunity to teach children about American history.
A visit to the Fallon County Veterans Memorial in the city park is another way to acknowledge Veterans Day.
Should you attend the parade in downtown Fairfield, please take a moment to thank a veteran.
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