Honoring Our Veterans

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget
that the highest appreciation is not to utter words,
but to live by them.”
John F. Kennedy

Honoring Our Veterans

Today, November 11th is Veterans Day. It was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor Armistice Day – the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918.

President Woodrow Wilson honored the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “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, Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, struck out the word “Armistice” and inserted the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, November 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

Veterans Day may be officially celebrated once a year to thank our American veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. But, I like to believe that we should celebrate daily in honoring our veterans.

Shine On

My Memorial Day Poem

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life
to something bigger than oneself.”
Joseph Campbell
Memorial Day

For centuries soldiers die
In the name of freedom
From all around the World
Mothers, daughters, sons and fathers
Mourn from wars death toll

The greatest thing the human race
Must accomplish is right now
To end all wars and live in peace
In hopes that all the lives war took
Were not lives that died in vain

We celebrate on Memorial Day
To honor all the fallen
They made the ultimate sacrifice
For all of us still living
We dedicate this day to say
Don’t forget all the lives that have fallen

By:   J R

Shine On

Our Men of Honor

“A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces,
but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.”
John F. Kennedy

Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C. This nineteen-foot tall statue of Abraham Lincoln emerged from the design of Massachusetts sculptor Daniel Chester French whose attention to detail, accuracy, and composition created a masterpiece.

Today, March 3, 1865 marks the 150th anniversary of the day President Abraham Lincoln signed a law to establish a national soldiers and sailors asylum. It was signed a month before the Civil War ended and the day before his second inauguration. Its roots can be traced back to 1636, when the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony were at war with the Pequot Indians.

The Pilgrims passed a law that stated that disabled soldiers would be supported by the colony. Later, the Continental Congress of 1776 encouraged enlistments during the Revolutionary War, providing pensions to disabled soldiers. In the early days of the Republic, individual states and communities provided direct medical and hospital care to Veterans. Then, in 1811, the federal government authorized the first domiciliary and medical facility for Veterans. Also in the 19th century, the nation’s Veterans assistance program was expanded to include benefits and pensions not only for Veterans, but for their widows and dependents.

Home for Disabled Veterans

An illustration of the Milwaukee location of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, from the 1885 edition of the Wisconsin Blue Book.

It wasn’t until 1873 that the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers was established. It was the first-ever government institution created specifically for honorably discharged volunteer soldiers. The first national home opened November 1, 1866, near Augusta, Maine. These national homes were often called “soldiers’ homes” or “military homes,” and only soldiers who fought for the Union Army—including U.S. Colored Troops—were eligible for admittance.

The sprawling campuses became the template for future generations of federal Veterans’ hospitals. Because of President Lincoln, today the United States has the most comprehensive system of assistance for Veterans of any nation in the world.

Thank you President Lincoln for being the first in our government to have the compassion and the forethought to look after all of our past, present and future war veterans. Our men of honor.

Shine On