Veterans Day will be celebrated Monday across Highlands County, giving us an opportunity to pause and recognize the contributions of those who have served in the armed forces, past and present.
This day was originally called Armistice Day, made a federal holiday in 1938 as a way to recognize those who served in World War I. It commemorates Nov. 11, 1918, at 11 a.m., when Germany surrendered to Allied forces.
The official resolution noted that Armistice Day “marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far-reaching war in human annals.”
But history would prove that not to be true.
WWI was, indeed, all of those things at the time but WWII certainly topped it in human misery, destruction and impact. And we’ve seen more war, though not on such a large scale: Korea, Vietnam and a series of wars in the Middle East, from Kuwait to Iraq and Afghanistan.
The holiday’s name was changed from Armistice to “Veterans” Day in 1954 to include veterans of WWII.
Attitudes toward veterans have ebbed and flowed with the tide of war, from cheerful parades after WWII to the spit and disdain that greeted Vietnam veterans. Attitudes toward veterans were already swinging back to one of praise when a surge of patriotism and support for our military came after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. That strong sense of pride and support continues.
It’s important to remember our men and women in the military are at war. People continue to die for our country every day in the effort to spread democracy and freedom.
We urge you to take time out of your day Monday to attend the Veteran’s Day parade in downtown Sebring or simply seek out a veteran and say “thank you.” And let’s be grateful for the liberties, opportunities and freedoms we have as Americans.