World War I did not officially end until the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919; over seven months after the Armistice ending all hostilities went into effect at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. The United States originally celebrated “Armistice Day” on November 11. Years later Armistice Day became known as Veterans Day.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, November 11 should be a day to honor veterans for their patriotism, love of country and their willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
It should be a day of celebration with thoughts of servicemen and women returning home.
I have had the opportunity to be at the pier in San Diego when a fleet of ships returned from the Persian Gulf. Parents, waving flags, were waiting for their sons and daughters. There were young families with strollers holding children dressed in red, white and blue. Young wives and girl friends wearing stiletto heels also were waiting for the ships to come in. The excitement and the joy of the day unified all of us.
While active duty military come home to fanfare on the pier, the reservists who were activated often come home individually on a commercial flight. Airlines will let family members go to the gate to greet their returning hero. Our grandsons had the opportunity to be at the gate to greet their dad when he returned home. The staff at the gate made sure that our grandsons would be the first people our son saw as he left the plane. Passengers waiting to board the plane noticed these little boys with their signs saying “welcome home” and made room for them near the door to the gateway. People clapped as our son picked up his sons and hugged his wife. Some wiped a tear from their eye. But their actions made a very special moment even more memorable.
These are some of the moments to be remembered as we celebrate Veterans Day and hope for the cessation of conflicts around the world.