On Nov. 11 people all over the country honored veterans that have served in all branches of the military and in all wars.
Celebrations, parades and memorial services occurred as we reflected on the sacrifices our veterans made. However when Veteran's Day first began it was meant to honor those who served in World War I.
World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919 with the Treaty of Versailles but in fact the fighting actually ceased seven months earlier when an armistice or a temporary cessation of hostilities between the allied nations and Germany went into effect during the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month according to www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp.
World War I was known as the `Great War' and Nov. 11, 1918 is known as the end of `the war to end all wars.' A year later, on Nov. 11, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson recognized the first anniversary of Armistice Day, as it was referred to back then. It wasn't approved as a legal federal holiday until May 13, 1938 when congress passed an act.
But then came World War II and the Korean War. At the urging of veterans service organizations congress amended the act on June 1, 1954 by replacing the word armistice with veteran. Veteran's Day became a day to honor all veterans.
During Veteran's Day weekend our family went to the Veteran's Day parade in downtown Colorado Springs. Veteran's from all branches of the military and all wars participated in the parade. There were even a few prisoners of war. Civil War re-enactors also marched in the parade.
It was great to see all the high school Junior ROTC students take part in the parade. Some of these same students will be our future military leaders. My son marched in the parade with his Colorado Springs Young Marine unit. On Veteran's Day he participated in the color guard during a memorial service.
It was nice to see Facebook friends honoring veterans by posting pictures of fathers, brothers, grandfathers, sisters and other loved ones who served. I don't know anyone who doesn't have a connection to the military.
My own father served in the United States Marine Corps and was sent to Vietnam for 18 months. My grandfather on my mom's side was in the Army during World War II and was sent to Europe right after the war ended where he helped with clean-up at Auschwitz. His brother was killed during the war when he was taken prisoner of war in Italy. I couldn't imagine being in their shoes and seeing the things that they saw.
One of my closest cousins served in the Air Force where she flew in C-130s every weekend. It was a dream come true for her. Her dream was cut short when she was killed in a car accident at age 22. Two years later the crew she flew with perished in a plane crash.
Many other family members served in the military, my husband's family included. We will honor veterans again on Memorial Day but really we should honor them every day. They make incredible sacrifices so you and I can enjoy our freedom.