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Grumpy Old Ganz

Freedom Isn’t Free

“Veterans know better than anyone else the price of freedom, for they’ve suffered the scars of war. We can offer them no better tribute than to protect what they have won for us.” —Ronald Reagan, 1983, during a radio address to the Nation.

With November 11 arriving and the observance of Veterans Day, I found some people were unaware of its origin or history. For those who may be too young or never heard an explanation of the importance of the day, and just as a refresher for others, I thought some facts would be in order as to why this day is “observed”.

Veterans Day was originally referred to as “Armistice Day”, to remember the end of World War I in 1918 on the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”…becoming a national holiday in 1938.

This special day also honors ALL American veterans of ALL wars, living or dead, but focuses and gives thanks to the living members of the Armed Services who served their country honorably during both war and peacetime.

In 1954, President Eisenhower officially changed the name to “Veterans Day”. In 1968, Congress passed a bill moving the holiday to the fourth Monday in October. However, due to historical significance, President Ford changed the date back to November 11 in 1975.

Other countries also recognize this day on or near November 11 as well, while observing two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. every November 11.

Some additional facts about U.S. veterans:

• Eighteen point two million living veterans served during at least one war as of 2018.

• Nine percent are women.

• Seven million served during Vietnam.

• Three million in the War on Terrorism.

• Two million in the Korean War.

• Sixteen million Americans who served in WW II…325,000 were still alive as of 2020.

So on this day, if you know a veteran or if you don’t know one maybe search one out, and share your appreciation with a simple “thank you for your service”!

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