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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

November 11 Veterans Day

Every year on November 11th in the United States we celebrate Veterans Day, originally called Armistice Day, this day, historically marked the end of World War I.

Though World War I officially ended with the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919, actual fighting had ceased between the Allied nations and Germany seven months earlier when a temporary cessation of fighting, or armistice, went into effect at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For this reason November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.” In 1938, Congress made the 11th day of the 11th month a legal holiday known as Armistice Day, a day to honor veterans of World War I.

Time passed and America found herself in another war and then another. Clearly, World War I, was not “the war to end all wars,” and Armistice Day was in need of a change. In 1954 after World War II and Korea, the 83rd Congress, amended the 1938 Act by changing the word Armistice to Veterans and November 11th became a day to honor all American veterans of all wars.

Of course all citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war. The Catechism of the Catholic Church devotes paragraphs 2302 – 2317 to the safeguarding of peace and the avoidance of war. But, in this country and the world, there is good and there is evil, there is right and there is wrong, and there is war and there is peace. So “those who are sworn to serve their country in the armed forces are servants of the security and freedom of nations. If they carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the maintenance of peace.”(CCC #2310 quoting Gaudium et Spes)

Until that time when Jesus returns in glory and brings peace to the world there will continue to be veterans and Veterans Day. In anticipation of that time, I will thank our veterans for their service; those who have passed, those who are still with us, and those of the future. The freedom and opportunity I have as a citizen of this country, that I take for granted, came at a price. It was won and continues to be protected, by the veterans of our Armed Forces.

Thank you for your duty, honor, and service to this country. May God mightily bless you all.

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