MINT HILL, NC – Veterans Day as we know it originally came about as a way to celebrate victory in World War I and remember those who died in the conflict in service to their country. Although the Treaty of Versaille officially brought an end to the “Great War” on June 28 of 1919, fighting had ceased seven months earlier with an armistice – a temporary cessation of hostilities – between the Allied nations and Germany. The armistice took effect at 11:00 am on November 11, 1918: the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
One year later, President Wilson declared November 11, 1919, the first “Armistice Day.” Originally, Armistice Day was intended to be a day of parades, public meetings, and a brief suspension of business at 11:00 am in recognition of the moment when the armistice took effect.
In 1938, Armistice Day became a legal holiday, a day dedicated both to honoring Veterans of World War I and to the cause of world peace. Although World War I was thought at the time to be the “war to end all wars,” World War II would top it, requiring the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; furthermore, American forces would go on to fight agression in Korea. In 1954, the 83rd Congress amended the Act of 1938, replacing the word “Armistice” with the word “Veterans.” Thus, November 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
For over two decades, Mint Hill has honored its veterans with their annual Veterans Breakfast. Normally held at Philadelphia Presbyterian Church, the event featured all the pomp and circumstance due to the men and women who bravely served our country: breakfast served by local boy scouts, the color guard from Independence High School’s JROTC program, Mint Hill’s mayor, a guest speaker, and patriotic entertainment.
COVID threw a wrench in this important twenty year-long tradition. Faced with the task of finding a way to honor our town’s veterans while also protecting the members of our community most at-risk from COVID-19, The Town decided to do a drive-through Veterans Appreciation Event at Veterans Memorial Park. “Our veterans group is our most vulnerable population,” says Assistant to the Town Manager Sheryl Smith. “It’s hard to socially distance that large of a group in an indoor setting. In 2020, when we cancelled all our events, the one thing we said at the beginning of the year was that we were not going to cancel on our veterans,” continues Smith. “It had been a 20-year tradition that we were not going to break, so we went to the drive-thru format.” Although it was undeniably not the same as the breakfast, the Town was proud to personally thank almost 100 veterans last year.
Uncomfortable hosting a large group of vulnerable individuals indoors this fall, the Town decided once again to do a drive-through event. The JROTC from several schools, along with the Scouts and Town staff will be on hand thanking our veterans. A bagpiper is scheduled to perform, and each veteran will be given a gift bag and breakfast from Chick-fil-A.
Mint Hill’s Veterans Appreciation Event will take place on Saturday, November 13 from 8:00 am – 9:00 am. All veterans are welcome. Please call Town Hall at (704) 545-9726 to let them know you will be participating so they have an accurate count of how many people to expect.
After the drive-through event on Saturday, Quilts of Valor will be presenting quilts to 9-12 veterans who have been touched by war. A brief ceremony will take place in the park at 9:30 during which the veterans will be draped with their quilts. Individually handmade by volunteer quilters, Quilts of Valor are unique and priceless, often considered to be one of the highest awards a Veteran can receive. The quilts that will be presented on November 13 are the work of Mecklenburg County’s new Quilts of Valor chapter, which serves Mecklenburg and Gaston counties. If you are interested in donating fabric or volunteering, contact Janice Cooper (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Emily Davis (email@example.com).
Of course, it doesn’t have to be Veterans Day to thank a veteran for their service. Many local businesses offer discounts to veterans and/or active military year round. Carolina Hemp Company offers a 15% discount for both veterans and active military. Wayback Burgers offers a 5% discount for veterans and active military members year-round; on Veterans Day, stop in for a free order of fries with the purchase of any burger or sandwich. Big Guy’s Pizza is also proud to offer a 10% discount year-round for Veterans. Urban Air expresses gratitude to our military heroes by offering 10% off attraction passes for you and your family with a military ID.
Need to buy or sell a home? 1st Choice Properties is proud to offer a free home warranty to veterans who purchase through their agency and a special listing commission discount when they sell a home with 1st Choice. If you need someone to help you make the move, look no further than relocation services company Move, Pack, Clean. “In honor of Veterans Day, we salute all active-duty military personnel and veterans who have kept (and continue to keep) our country safe!” offers Move, Pack, Clean. “To show our appreciation, we would like to offer a 25% discount off our moving services.” These are doubtlessly only a few examples of the many ways businesses in our community honor those who fought and continue to fight for the freedoms we hold dear as Americans.
Even if you’re staying away from crowds and close contact, there are many meaningful things you can do to celebrate and honor the veterans in our town:
- Find and attend an outdoor event, like the Quilts of Valor presentation.
- Donate to an organization that offers support, services, and appreciation for our veterans, like the Mint Hill VFW.
- Research the proper way to fly the American Flag, and do it proudly.
- Send a postcard or e-card to a veteran you know, or look up the closest military installation and send one anonymously.
- Don’t confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day! Veterans Day is about honoring all those who have served or are currently serving in any branch of the military. Memorial Day is about remembering those who lost their lives in service to our country.