Veterans Day

Priscilla Le, Managing Editor

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What Is a Veteran?

According to the English dictionary, the word, “veteran”, is a noun defined as 1. a person who has had long experience in a particular field and 2. a person who has served in the military. It is derived from the Latin word, “veteranus”, which directly translates to ‘vetus/old’ and the French word, “vétéran”.  (According to a census conducted in 2016, there are 20.4 million veterans in the United States, which makes up for less than ten percent of the total population, and only about nine percent of these veterans are female.)

Symbols of the five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. (source: arrl.org)

What Is Veterans Day?

Veterans Day is a national U.S. holiday observed annually on November 11th, honoring all military veterans who served for our country. The U.S. Armed Forces are composed of five branches of service: the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. The Air Force primarily conducts military operations in the air, the Army primarily handles land warfare/affairs, the Coast Guard is responsible for the enforcement of maritime law and life protection at sea (if the country is a period of war or if the president directs it, the Coast Guard will serve as part of the Navy), the Marine Corps fight on land, sea, and air, and the Navy (also known as the maritime force) is mainly designated for marine/warfare over water.

 

Mottos of the Armed Forces:

Air Force- “Aim High… Fly-Fight-Win” and “Integrity first, Service before self, Excellence in all we do”

Army- “This We’ll Defend” has origins in the founding of the War Office, ‘an intermediary between the states and the Army’. Former Army Chief of Staff, General Ray Odierno stated “the pronoun ‘we’ reinforces our collective or team effort, and ‘defend’ remains our Army’s main mission”.

Coast Guard- “Semper Paratus” meaning ‘always ready’ in Latin.

Marine Corps- “Semper Fidelis” (commonly shortened to “Semper Fi”), meaning ‘always faithful’ in Latin. This motto was adopted in 1883 after dropping three former mottos: “Fortitudine” meaning ‘with courage’, Per Mare, Per Terram” meaning ‘by sea, by land’, and “To the shores of Tripoli”, which is a hymn motto.

Navy- “Semper Fortis” meaning ‘always courageous’ (official) and “Non sibi sed patriae” meaning ‘not for self but for country’ (unofficial).

 

The History of Veterans Day:

This holiday was formerly known as Armistice Day (November 11th, 2919: the first anniversary of the end of World War I), before having a name change in 1954 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Uniform Holidays Bill, passed by Congress in 1968, declared the holiday to be celebrated on the fourth Monday of October and went into effect in 1971, but was changed back to November 11th by President Gerald Ford in 1975 because of the historical significance of the date.

 

Similar Holidays:

Image of remembrance poppies (Source: canadiannanny.ca)

Armistice/Remembrance Day- (informally known as Poppy Day) Is observed November 11th by the Commonwealth of Nations (Antigua and Barbuda, Austrailia, †he Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Cameroon, Canada, Cyprus, Dominica, Fiji, The Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Kingdom, Vanuatu, and Zambia) except for Mozambique. It is a marker of the day World War I ended at 11 in the morning on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. It is tradition to hold a two-minute silence at 11 AM on the holiday after King George V requested for “the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead.”

 

Picture of the U.S. flag (Source: time.com)

Memorial Day- Observed in the United States on the last Monday of May, this American holiday honors those who died serving in the military. It was originally called Decoration Day, but was renamed in 1971 following the Civil War. (Decoration Day originated on May 30th, 1868 and was for decorating the graves of fallen soldiers with strewed flowers and flags) Traditions for this holiday include visiting cemeteries/memorials, city parades, and weekend trips/parties due to the fact that it also (unofficially) marks the beginning of summer. The reason for Memorial Day being on the last Monday of May is due to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act passed in 1968 with the purpose of allowing federal employees to have a three-day weekend. This law also declared it as a federal holiday and went into effect in 1971.

 

Publications adviser, Ida Lesa Anderson, here at Weiss High School, is an Army veteran. When asked about her experience, she responded that “having served in the military was an incredible adventure, a learning experience, and just plain interesting. [I got] to travel and I’ve been all over the world.” She also stated that she’s glad that she joined because it gave her an opportunity to “serve her country”.

About the Writer
Priscilla Le, Managing Editor

Priscilla is a sophomore at Weiss High School. She was born in Arlington, Texas and moved here in 2014, just before her first year of middle school. Since...

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