Around the Bluhmin’ Town
Fly your flag. It will soon be Veterans Day, that one great day to honor the men and women who served in the United States Armed Forces. Maybe watch a parade or a solemn ceremony. There will be bands and bag pipes, flyovers and a display of pride as we are reminded just how much we owe those who wore the uniform.
The fighting of World War I ceased in 1918 when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. This was regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.” President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of the Armistice Day in 1919. It was President Eisenhower in 1954 changed the name to “Veterans Day.”
As of 2022, there are 19 million living veterans. Approximately 500,000 served in the Korean War, seven million veterans during the Vietnam War and three million have served in support of the War on Terrorism. Only about 175,000 World War II veterans are still alive. Every Veterans Day there is a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, which commences at exactly 11:00 am with a wreath laying on the Tomb of the Unknowns.
Check out the Anthem Veterans Memorial. This award-winning monument has five pillars that represent the five branches of the United States military. They are staggered in size and the military seal placements on each pillar are based upon the Department of Defense prescribed precedence. At precisely 11:11 AM on Veterans Day, November 11, the sun’s rays will pass through each of the five pillar’s elliptical openings, with the shadows aligning precisely to illuminate a glass mosaic medallion of the Great Seal of the United States. For one thrilling minute, this monument can be seen in its full glory.
My father served in World War II, my husband in Viet Nam, my grandson is currently in the Navy. When Pearl Harbor was bombed, my father, like tens of thousands of young men, joined the Army Air Forces immediately. Stationed in England with the 450th Bomb Squadron of the 322nd Group, he recalls flying over France on a mission when the propeller fell off the plane. Land the plane in a farmer’s field, find some baling wire, and have a French farmer and three airmen get the propeller back on the fuselage and fasten it on with a wire used for hay. Take off and make it back to base. To fly again, fight again and try to save humanity from the clutches of evil. The stories of war are told in a million acts of valor.
Historians will analyze the effectiveness of the wars we fought in, and our Congress will decide on the new wars we will have to fight. But the “we” is really a group of devoted, loyal, highly trained, brave men and women who fought for our freedoms.
Veterans Day honors the best among us. Let’s celebrate, salute and support those who sacrificed and served.
Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Contact Judy at [email protected] or at www.aroundthebluhmintown.com.
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