Letter to the Editor: The meaning of Veterans Day

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To the Editor:

 

First of all, Memorial Day is sometimes confused with Veterans Day. Memorial Day is set aside for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country.

Now this Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, is Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day. Armistice Day was celebrated by the people who remembered World War I. It was a long and bloody war. Many of the soldiers who participated in that war, such as the British, believed that they were fighting to protect their homeland and preserving their way of life as many American servicemen and women are doing likewise now.

Soon after World War I, many of the participating countries observed Nov. 11 by the cessation of all activities precisely at 11 a.m. for a full minute, or by shooting out a booming 21-gun salute. They believed that World War I was the war to end all wars. However, a couple of decades later, World War II began with the United States entering the fray at the urging of Britain and the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii by the Japanese.

World War II was considered by many in the United States as a most legitimate war, one that we could be proud of fighting. Still, that war was not the end of conflicts. The United States became embroiled in the Vietnam War in the 1960s. More recently, we have engaged in the Iraq War. Even now we are still in Afghanistan because Osama Bin Laden attacked the United States. Other countries are in turmoil, too, such as Syria and their unending civil war and other parts of the Middle East.

Now on Nov. 11, we celebrate the day with parades and speeches all over the United States. Veterans of different wars dress up in their old uniforms to march in the parades. Many dignitaries are praising these soldiers for their great sacrifices. Of course, we are grateful to all our veterans for all their services so we can continue to have our American values and keep our way of life and our country free. In our town, the Shrewsbury Veterans’ Council is certain to be sponsoring a ceremony at the WWI Monument in front of Beal School at 11 a.m. All welcome!

 

Isabelle Chang

Shrewsbury