Veterans Day one of many holidays that pay tribute to military

On Friday, we will again celebrate Veterans Day. Here are some interesting facts about this holiday you may not have known:

Veterans Day was originally established in 1926, five years after the burial ceremony of the Unknown Soldier in 1921. It was originally established to celebrate the end of World War I hostilities on Nov. 11, 1918. It was originally known as Armistice Day, but President Eisenhower changed its name to Veterans Day in 1958 after intense lobbying from veterans organizations. And finally, it was established to supplement the remembrance of veterans who died in or from wounds received in combat or those missing in action on our Memorial Day, to honor one day a year, all our livingmilitary veterans.

We have many holidays inspired by military history. President’s Day might have been called Commanders-in-Chief Day, when we consider that all our presidents are/were also commanders in chief. Independence Day celebrates the winning of the Revolutionary War. Memorial Day celebrates those who died for our country or were missing in action. Armed Forces Day (mid-Saturday in May) celebrates our current military forces, and Flag Day (June 14) celebrates the history of our "stars and stripes."

Many Americans also pause to remember other special days with military significance: Victory in Europe Day (May 8); Victory over Japan Day (August 14); National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day (July 27); Gold Star Mother's Day (September 28), a day to remember the sacrifices that mothers of sons and daughters killed in action have made; POW/MIA Recognition Day (September 19), to keep hope alive; and our newest special day — Patriot Day (September 11) — established in 2002 to remember those who perished during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Still other Americans remember military events on national holidays — on April Fools' Day in 1945 we began the invasion of Okinawa; on May 1, Law Day, Loyalty Day and the National Day of Prayer are celebrated, but for a small minority of Americans that date is remembered as the beginning of the Cambodian Campaign during the Vietnam War in 1970. On June 5 we celebrate the D-Day invasion of Europe in 1944. We celebrate Columbus Day (October 13), but it is also the date on which the United States Navy was founded.


OK, here are the rest: the Army was founded on June 14, 1775; the Marines were founded on November 10, 1775; the Air Force was founded on Sept. 18, 1947; and the Coast Guard established on August 4, 1790. And finally on Dec. 7 we celebrate National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

Although I have presented you with many special days on our calendar, with deep roots in military history, there are many other days which could be formally recognized as well: the Battle of Bunker Hill, the Bataan Death March, Heartbreak Ridge, Pork Chop Hill, Hamburger Hill, the Inchon Landing, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, the Beirut Terrorist Attack, Operation Torch, the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, and the Battle of the Bulge, to name a few.

All of these dates in our history and days on our calendars are meaningful. This Veterans Day, all across our great country and throughout the 800 military bases where our troops are stationed throughout the world, Americans will pause to honor our brave fighting men and women. For more than 236 years our military sons and daughters have underwritten our freedom by their duty, honor, integrity, courage, heroism, patriotism and selflessness. I hope you will find a moment or two to express your thanks for their dedicated service to our country.

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