On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Armistice with Germany went into effect, ending major hostilities and ultimately ending WW 1. To commemorate the service of the military persons during WW 1, Armistice Day, a federal holiday was established to be observed annually on 11/11.
In 1954, at the urging of major U.S. veteran organizations, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day, expanding the observance to include military veterans, who have served in the United States Armed Forces . It coincides with other holidays including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day which are celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I.
Veterans Day is distinct from Memorial Day, in May. Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day honors those who had died while in military service. Another military holiday that also occurs in May, Armed Forces Day, honors those currently serving in the U.S. military. Additionally, Women Veterans Day is recognized by a growing number of U.S. states that specifically honor women who have served in the U.S. military.
For me personally, I am always drawn to think about the rippling effect of those who have served. All come back changed and if they are lucky, they are whole in mind and in body. If not so lucky, they will experience short- or long-term consequences. And some have paid the ultimate price.
The families of these wonderful veterans will pay the price of this service, potentially forever, with the care and respect that is needed.
I am so proud that my maternal grandfather served in WW 1. He returned seemingly reasonably well. My father and his brother served in the 40’s; my father returned, and my uncle did not. My uncle’s death ultimately contributed to my grandmother’s untimely death. My father retained a reserve and sadness all his days when conversation neared these topics.
So as we honor all veterans who have served, perhaps it is with incredible respect for these veterans, for their families and with a very strong wish for peace.
-Written by Barbara Schmidt, Director of Organizational Culture and Engagement, Southcoast Health, ACHE of MA DEI Committee Member