Don’t forget the state’s birthday on Veteran’s Day

November 8th, 2013 by Ken

Monday is Veteran’s Day.  It’s a Federal holiday and many federal offices are closed.  There’s no mail delivery either.

Veteran’s Day is set aside to honor all veterans of American wars and all of those who served in its armed forces.   The history of Veteran’s Day is steeped in honor of those who have fought to keep this country free.

Veteran’s Day dates back to the Great War.  That’s what they called World War I before World War II – -the Great War.  Canada got into in 1914, the United States in 1917 and by 1918 it was all over.  Some 20,000 Canadian boys died in that war and 80,000 American boys.   It was the War to End all Wars.

The boys that came back from that war had been changed by their experience.   They had come from small towns, small farms and small villages all across North America and went to fight in order to Make the World Safe for Democracy.

They came back, more worldly, more aware of the outside world and they came back ready for peace, not knowing that in a generation they would be back fighting once again in Europe.

Many also came back, broken, dishearted and suffering.  There was no government help for those affected by PTSD.

But, to honor their sacrifice President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11, Armistice Day.   For it was on that day in 1918 on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month precisely at 11 p.m. that the war ended.

The day holds special significance for Canadians where it is known as Remembrance Day.  For it was in the Great War that Canadians fought as Canadians and not as members of the British Empire.   It was World War I which united Canadians and helped create their country.

In 1956 Armistice Day was changed to Veteran’s Day to honor all Americans who served in the armed forces of the United States.

So, while we celebrate Veteran’s Day on Monday – – those of us living in the great state of Washington, have another significance to the day.

For it was on November 11 in 1889 that Washington Territory became Washington State.   Monday is the 124th anniversary of Washington statehood.

As usual, the anniversary of Washington statehood slips by almost unnoticed by the general public.  It’s only those of us who like history who remember.

So, while we honor our veterans on Monday, lets also take a minute or so to remember the birthday of our great state – – and think about what we can do to make it better.

Posted in History, The Real News

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