Thank you: Pause to appreciate veterans’ sacrifice

An editorial from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — “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 …”

— President Woodrow Wilson, November 1919, in proclaiming Nov. 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day

It began as a day to honor veterans on the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, which officially ended “The Great War.” Now, 88 years after Congress made it a national holiday, we continue to pause and give thanks on Nov. 11 to the millions of men and women who so proudly — so honorably — served their country.

In its resolution making the holiday official, the United States Congress states, “ … that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.”

Here in southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia, we will do just that with parades and special programs honoring our veterans today. Two of the biggest programs this morning will be the Veterans Day parades in Welch and Princeton. The McDowell County parade, sponsored by the American Legion Post No. 8, is one of the country’s longest ongoing Veterans Day parades. It begins at 10 a.m. in the city of Welch. In Mercer County, the city of Princeton will also host a Veterans Day Parade, which will begin at 11 a.m. on Mercer Street.

It is only fitting we pay tribute to the brave men and women who have fought for our nation’s freedoms, battled our enemies and defended our borders with steadfast courage with parades, ceremonies, memorial services and other events.

Today, we honor our veterans. But it is important to remember that we must salute our heroes not only today, but every day. And there are many ways we can thank a veteran…

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