MINT HILL, NC – This year 2020 is unlike previous Veterans Day celebrations in Mint Hill. For many years local veterans enjoyed an annual breakfast served by local boy scouts, with a color guard from Independence High School JROTC program, the Mayor, a guest speaker, and patriotic entertainment.
However, due to the pandemic, the Town of Mint Hill and Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce has requested the honor of local veterans to attend a Veterans’ Appreciation Day on Saturday, November 14 from 8:00 am until 9:30 am at Veterans Memorial Park. The event will be a drive-thru, and all the required safety measures will be in place. This decision not to cancel Veterans Day shows the character, respect, and appreciation the community has for our former service members.
Veterans Day honors all the former American service members who served our great nation in times of war and peace. This includes both the deceased and the living. This day is largely for the living veterans, to thank them for their service, devotion, and sacrifices, from a grateful nation.
So, why is Veterans Day important? November 11 is a special day to honor the men and women who serve our country so Americans can enjoy freedoms. Behind each veteran, there are family members who also make sacrifices while their loved one serves our country.
It’s about real people who protect and honor our precious freedoms each and every day. They are our spouses, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, neighbors, sons, daughters, friends, cousins, and co-workers. They are brave, honorable, dedicated, patriotic, and altruistic individuals in the U.S. military who believe in something greater than themselves.
To provide some historical perspective, the day was originally called Armistice Day. It commemorated the end of the Great War, known as World War I, to most Americans. The war officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, but the fighting actually ceased about seven months prior to the signing of the agreement, when the Allies and Germany entered into an armistice on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
Therefore, November 11, 1918, became the date that ended the war. This was supposed to be “the war to end all wars,” so it was named Armistice Day. In 1926, Congress officially recognized this date as the end of the war, and in 1938, it became a national holiday, a day of significance to honor and pay tribute to the veterans who served during World War I.
After the Great War, America fought World War II, and the Korean War. On June 1, 1954, at the request of several veterans organizations, Congress amended the commemoration once again by replacing “armistice” with “veterans” so all military members who served during these conflicts would receive the recognition they deserved for their valor, courage, and patriotism.
Even with the changes made, there still was some confusion due to the date change. Congress passed and signed the Uniform Holiday Bill in 1968, during the Vietnam War, to include Veterans Day along with other federal holidays to be celebrated on a Monday.
On October 25, 1971, the first Veterans Day under the new bill was observed, however, many states preferred to continue the practice of honoring their veterans on the original November 11 date. Finally, on September 20, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed Public Law 94-97, which returned Veterans Day back to its original date effective in 1978.
Since the Vietnam War came to an abrupt end in 1975, America has been involved in many conflicts around the world. This includes Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Gulf War, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, ISIS, and Syria. We have also experienced times without conflict, but the American warrior has always been prepared to defend freedom.
Veterans Day is a time of remembrance with breakfasts, ceremonies, parades, and moments of silence for the fallen, but most of all to honor all those who have served our nation honorably, whether for a brief time or as a career. It takes a special kind of individual to answer the call to duty; not everyone can or wants to make the mentally, physically, and emotionally-challenging sacrifice military service mandates.
Veterans Day is a day for reflection. Going back to the American Revolution, we have lost almost 1.4 million citizens in the defense of freedom. Especially in today’s environment, we must fully understand that freedom is not free; it comes at a very high cost.
The Mint Hill Times honors all our veterans on this patriotic day. To all who served: All Gave Some, and Some Gave Everything. We should never forget to honor their sacrifice for the greater benefit of us all.