Remembrance Day

The eleventh hour, the eleventh day of the eleventh month an Armistice Agreement ended fighting in the “war to end all wars”.  While the Treaty of Versailles would not be finished and signed for months, Armistice Day, now known as Veteran’s Day, is celebrated on November 11th.  The first observance of Armistice Day in the United States was held in 1919.  President Woodrow Wilson said “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first Veteran’s Day proclamation acknowledging the holiday as a day of observance of the courage and sacrifice of all veterans.  Many communities honor our veterans with a moment of silence at 11am, military parades and the wearing of poppies.

The famous poem In Flanders Fields By John McCrae reminds us of the sacrifice behind the symbol of the poppy:

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.

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