Native Writes: Honor veterans every day

There is a rich history behind Veterans Day and its celebration, dating back to the end of World War I.

Originally known as Armistice Day, the day was set aside to honor veterans of World War I. Called the “War to End All Wars,” it ended on June 28, 1919 with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, although its significance was highlighted on Nov. 11 because fighting officially ended on that day in 1918 when an armistice — or truce — was declared between the Allied and Central Powers.

It wasn’t the war to end all wars, however. Since then, the United States has been involved in wars around the globe, with a continually growing loss of life.

In 1954, Following World War II and the Korean War, President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day to recognize and honor all veterans, not just those who fought in war.

In 1971 to create a three-day weekend for government employees, Congress declared Veterans Day was to be celebrated on the fourth Monday in October every year -- people were generally unhappy with the switch, not only because it was confusing, but many had to work.

Driven by the historical significance of the Nov. 11 date, Congress officially returned Veterans Day permanently to the 11th of November -- the 11th day of the eleventh month. At 11 a.m., TAPS and a moment of silence complete the honors.

Today, Veterans Day is celebrated nationwide as a special day to honor the brave men and women who served in the military. It differs from Memorial Day, which is celebrated on the last Monday in May each year, in that Memorial Day honors all those who died or gave their lives while serving in the Armed Forces, while Veterans Day also celebrates those veterans who are still living.

Parades will be held in Alamosa and Monte Vista the morning of Saturday, Nov. 10 this year, although some organizations will celebrate Sunday, Nov. 11. Timing will ensure that the parades will pause at 11 a.m. Saturday so public commemorations may take place at that time.

I will thank individual veterans for their service, say a prayer for those who have gone on to the Supreme Command in Heaven and add a prayer that wars will end so the world will know true peace.

It has been said that each person who joins the United States military signs a blank check, payable with his or her life, should the cause of freedom demand it.

Brave men and women who serve in the military protect our country, our freedom and our very lives. They return to make our cities, towns and small hamlets a better place to live.

To me, each day is a day to honor and thank a veteran and I do.

The nation is are grateful for their service every day of the year, but many citizens only take time on Veterans Day to honor them and their service.

Don’t let it stop here.