Evolution of Veteran’s Day

Veteran’s Day evolved in the years following World War I, or “The Great War,” as it was known at the time.  The Great War, a war to end all wars, ended at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month in 1918 when an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect.  For that reason, Nov. 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of the war to end all wars. In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.  In 1938, Armistice Day became a legal holiday by an act of Congress.

World War I or “The Great War” officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, at the Palace of Versailles, France, when all warring powers executed a formal declaration of peace.  Fighting, however, had ceased seven months earlier when an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. 

The major players on the stage of history at this time were known as The Big Three:  President Woodrow Wilson, Prime Minister David Lloyd George of Great Britain and President Georges Clemenceau of France.  Pfc. Henry Gunther will be remembered as the last soldier to die on Nov. 11, 1918 with one minute remaining before the armistice would end all conflict.  This otherwise unknown man would charge a German machine gun encampment disregarding their attempts to wave him back, knowing that in a matter of seconds they could all leave their trenches and once again breathe the soft air of peace.  Gunther fell after a short blast of fire joining the 116,000 of his fellow American comrades that died in that war.

The last surviving U.S. World War I veteran, Frank Buckles, age 109, died in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 2011. In December 2010, he appeared before Congress to plead for the approval of a memorial to honor those American soldiers who died in the Great War.  He had enlisted at the age of 16, but his service to his country did not end there.  He also served in World War II and was captured by the Japanese, enduring the infamous Bataan Death March.  He survived three years in a Japanese prison camp, weighing only 85 pounds when he was finally liberated.

November 11 continued to be observed as Armistice Day until 1954 when, at the urging of the veterans’ organizations, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an act of Congress on June 1, 1954 formally changing the word “Armistice” to “Veterans” in order to expand the significance of that (Armistice Day) celebration and in order that a grateful nation might pay appropriate homage to the veterans of all its wars who have contributed so much to the preservation of this nation.

In 1968, Congress moved Veteran’s Day to the fourth Monday in November, but returned it to its traditional date in 1978 after heavy lobbying by veterans groups and concerned citizens, who believed that moving the observance to create a three-day holiday only served to take the focus off the historical significance of the day. The original concept for the commemoration was for a day observed with parades and public gatherings and a brief suspension of business at 11 a.m.  At New York Stock Exchange, trading stopped at 11 am for a 2-minute silence. Unfortunately, we have gotten away from that original concept, and many people look upon November 11 as simply a day off from work to relax or take advantage of store sales and forget that the reason the day was set aside was to honor our nation’s veterans.

Throughout the history of our great nation, courageous men and women have served in the armed forces to secure, defend and maintain the freedoms upon which our nation was founded.  They represent the finest in the American character who answered our country’s call during WWII, suffered through biting cold winters and scorching summers in Korea, endured booby-trapped jungles and steamy heat in Vietnam and are currently fighting in the unforgiving mountains in Afghanistan and the deserts in Iraq. They came from all walks of life, religions and ethnic backgrounds.  Right now, members of our armed forces are putting their lives on the line in the war against terrorism, and hardly a day goes by when there is not a report of one or more of these brave soldiers paying the ultimate price.  Their sacrifices have given us the freedom we enjoy today which is why we remember and salute their service.

On Nov. 11, our country honors all veterans and active duty soldiers on Veteran’s Day. We remember Henry Gunther and Frank Buckles and all those who laid down their lives in the defense of freedom and pray that our brave men and women, now serving in our armed services, return to us and lead long, safe and productive lives.

 

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Photo: Veterans’ Honor Rose from my garden

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda Morgan, The Rose Lady

Author and Garden Writer

www.rosalindarmorgan.com

 

Motivational Monday – July 4, 2016

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,

With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;

As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,

While God is marching on

 

By Julia Ward Howe

Battle Hymn of the Republic.

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

FOURTH OF JULY

Fourth of July Rose

Rosalinda, The Rose Lady

Rosalinda R Morgan

Author and Garden Writer

Red Poppies in Memory of Veterans

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Every year around Memorial Day, you see volunteers of the American Legion Auxiliary distributing bright red crepe paper poppies made by hospitalized veterans in exchange for contributions which help both disabled and hospitalized veterans.  The program provides multiple benefits to veterans and the community. Donations are used exclusively to assist and support veterans and their families and the poppy also reminds the community of the continuing needs of veterans.  The veterans who make the poppies earn a small wage and there are many therapeutic benefits, both mental and physical, associated with the activity.

The legend of the poppy began during World War I when a Lt. Col. John McCrea, a doctor and a member of the Canadian army, wrote a beautiful poem called, In Flanders Fields, which has become one of the most famous war poems honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  The Poppy’s worldwide symbol of sacrifice is worn to honor the men and women who served and dies for their country in all wars, including the Global War on Terrorism.  The Poppy grew wild on the battlefields of Flanders Fields and has become a symbol of sacrifice endured by the soldiers.  Like the blood that was shed there, its brilliant red bloom became a symbol of hope and renewal for those who lived and walked away.  For those who would never leave, it became a perpetual memory to their bravery.  So please look for the volunteer with the tray of poppies and support the veterans.

 

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields the Poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

 

We are the dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders Fields.

 

Take up our quarrel with the foe;

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though Poppies grow

in Flanders Fields.

By Lt. Col. John McCrea (1872-1918)

 

Like The Star Spangled Banner, written in Baltimore Harbor during the bombardment, In Flanders Fields was written on the spot, as Canadian battle surgeon, John McCrae gazed at fresh graves of his friends and comrades, and poppies “blowing” in the wind. Obviously, the post-war, blood red bloom from the fields of battle had a huge impact on all who saw or heard about it and has been a lasting memorial.

 

Rosalinda Morgan

Author and Garden Writer

Author of BAHALA NA (Come What May) – A WWII Story of Love, Faith, Courage, Determination and Survival

Holy Week in the Philippines

Holy Week in the Philippines is celebrated with religious fervor. Here is an excerpt from “The Iron Butterfly”.

 

During Cuaresma (Holy Week), from Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday) to Pasko ng Pagkabuhay (Easter Sunday), Catholic rites in the Philippines were infused with special fervor. It was a time for street pageantry and spiritual cleansing with processions, flagellantes, and passion plays. On Palm Sunday, the devouts brought palm branches to church to be blessed as symbols of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In rural areas, the palms might be dried and ground as a medicinal ingredient. Ceremonies reenacting the washing of the feet of the apostles were held in churches on Holy Thursday and Good Friday was a very solemn day. It was also marked by a vigil and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. In churches, priests expounded on Christ’s seven last words spoken on the cross. During Lent, tradition calls for either the reading or singing of the Passion, a book of verses from the creation of man all through Christ’s resurrection, either by an individual or a group as a devotional prayer.

 

Easter Sunday marked the resurrection of Christ from the dead, and the purple cloth of mourning was removed from the religious images. Church bells pealed and alleluias were sung. The salubong (meeting) took place. The Easter celebration started at dawn around five o’clock with a procession heralding the resurrection of Christ and his reunion with his mother, Mary. After the mass at dawn, twin processions left the church; one led by statue of Mary, the Sorrowful Mother followed by women and the other led by Resurrected Christ followed by men. The two processions went in opposite direction around the town plaza and then met in front of the church on the way back.

 

As choruses were sung, the statues “met”, meaning placed side by side beneath an arch adorned with flowers in front of the church. A little girl dressed as an angel, with wings and a halo, will remove Mary’s black veil with a long handled hook. Its removal was connected with superstitions about the harvest (e.g. a smooth unveiling meant a good harvest, a fallen veil drought). It put so much pressure on the little girl who was doing the honor.

 

When Adelaide was little, she was selected to take part in the Easter early morning ritual when the Blessed Virgin Mary met the resurrected Christ in a procession that went around the block next to the church. Both the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus were covered with a black cloth which the young girls would unveil. Adelaide was always selected to do the honor of taking off the black veil from the head of the Blessed Virgin while another girl would pull off the black cloth from the head of Jesus.

 

The four young girls would climb an elevated platform. Adelaide and her counterpart each held the pole with a hook and the other two girls held a basket of flowers. Adelaide was to take the black veil covering the image of the Blessed Virgin while on the other side of the walkway the other girl would take the black cloth covering Jesus. After the unveiling, they sang Hosanna, a hymn of praise and adoration and sprinkled petals of fragrant flowers to the crowd as people followed the procession back to church.

 

Easter was also marked by many other customs related to growth and renewal: the sick were lifted from their beds to receive new vigor; the short jumped and stretched to gain height; parents tossed young children in the air, believing they will thrive; plants were shaken so they will grow well. The fast of Lent ended with a lavish Easter feast.

 

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda, The Rose Lady

 

Rosalinda R Morgan

Author and Garden Writer

The Iron Butterfly

BAHALA NA (Come What May)