The origins of Veterans Day are rooted in the celebration of what was once known as Armistice Day. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day for November 11, 1919, exactly one year after the end of the first World War. In proclaiming the holiday he said, “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.”
The holiday is observed specifically on November 11th to signify the end of the major hostilities of World War I, which officially ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. An Act approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November each year a legal holiday- a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as Armistice Day. At the urging of veterans service organizations, the Act of 1938 was amended in 1954 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans,” representing a day to honor American veterans of all wars. President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first Veterans Day Proclamation on October 8, 1954.
The observance of this federal holiday is honored with celebrations of all sorts. Cities and towns across our country honor our dedicated service men and women with parades, special services, and firework displays. Each special celebration is held to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. Here in our own parish, Our Lady of Mercy shows honor to our veterans with a special Mass dedicated to all who have served. At this beautiful patriotic liturgy we will recognize all five branches of the military- Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The celebration wouldn’t be complete without patriotic songs such as the Battle Hymn of the Republic and the Armed Forces Medley.
We ask for your prayers for all members of the armed forces, especially those who are serving from our parish. Our Veterans Day celebration will take place at the noon Mass on Sunday, November 11. The parish community of Our Lady of Mercy extends its most sincere gratitude to Mr. Jim Williams for coordinating this beautiful celebration. We hope you will join us in honoring all who have served. God Bless America!