Let Us Never Forget What They Have Done

By Mary Fox

Veterans of the United States Military are everywhere. You can recognize them by their ball caps, bumper stickers, license plate emblems or pins on their lapels, all of which they display proudly.

Two days a year, we publically show our gratitude to the men and women who have served in our Armed Forces. On Memorial Day in May, we remember the men and women who died while serving. On Veterans Day, we celebrate the service of all military veterans.

Veterans have served during wartime — WWII, The Korean Conflict, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East and Africa — and during peace time all over the world.

The armistice ending World War I between Germany and the Allied Nations was signed on Nov. 11, 1918, at 11 a.m., marking the end of the “war to end all wars.”

In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as Armistice Day to honor the veterans, living and dead, who had served in the Great War.

“To us in America,” President Wilson said, “the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

On June 4, 1926, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution, including the words, “Whereas, the 11th of November 1918 marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed …” officially recognizing the end of World War I.

In 1954, after WWII and the Korean Conflict, the 83rd Congress amended the proclamation changing the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day, “a day to honor veterans of all wars.”

In Ellicottville on Veteran’s Day, we honor all those who served in the United States Armed Forces with a ceremony by the American Legion Post 659 at 11 a.m. in front of the Town Hall. The ceremony includes a short message, the placing of a wreath on the Veterans Memorial and firing of a salute by the honor guard made up of all ages and services.

No one is immune from consequences of war. We all suffer in different ways during those times, but no one gives more than our military men and women who participate in the conflict.

Let us never forget what they have done and are doing for us. Honor our veterans every day with your thanks and prayers, and show your gratitude next Monday, Nov. 11 at the Veterans Day ceremony.