By Ryan McKinney
On Nov. 11, we honor the extremely brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces. Veterans Day recognizes any member of the armed forces who served to protect our country and fight for those in need. This includes anyone who served in the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, National Guard, Air Force, and Coast Guard.
This federal holiday started when President Woodrow Wilson established it as Armistice Day. This was because the date of November 11, 1918, marked the one-year anniversary of armistice between the Allied Nations and Germany, which ultimately led to the end of the World War I. Armistice Day was then changed to Veterans Day in 1954 to honor those who served in any war, not just WWI.
Veterans Day continued to be celebrated annually on Nov. 11 until Congress passed the 1968 Uniform Holiday Bill. This law was brought forth to ensure that certain federal holidays would always fall on a Monday, thus giving Americans a three-day weekend. Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Columbus Day, and George Washington’s birthday were all part of the bill. Later, on September 20, 1975, President Gerald Ford changed name the date back to Nov. 11.
Senior Marcello El-Semarani’s stepfather Albert served in the Army for 19 years, enlisting in February 2000. Albert broke his news of enlisting on his 21st birthday to his family, leaving them in shock. “It did NOT go over as planned,” he said. His favorite experience while serving was when he was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and had the opportunity to learn about different cultures throughout the different areas of the world. Adapting to the military life was something that he eventually got used too as well. The main thing he remembers about adapting to military life was dealing with “schedules and knowing that I don’t need a lot of sleep to function” he said.
While Veterans Day is the official holiday to thank our veterans, those that served should be thanked throughout the year, for sacrificing their life to protect ours.