MABANK–The Sarah Maples Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution hosted a Veterans Day service Nov. 7, at the Mabank Veterans Memorial Garden. An annual Memorial Day service is also commemorated by the society but due to weather it was cancelled. As a result, the Nov. 7 program served as a Veterans Day and Memorial Day conjunction service.
First Sergeant United States Marine Corps Ret., SAR Bill Sekel was the guest speaker providing the history of and difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day. “On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, an Armistice was declared between the allied nations and Germany during World War I. Though the Treaty of Versailles is what officially ended the war, it was not signed until June 28. Nov. 11 remained the date that marked the end of the great war,” Sekel said. Sekel explained that President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 Armistice Day one year later in 1919. This was to include parades, public gatherings and a brief pause of business activities at 11 a.m.
Armistice Day officially received its name in 1926 and became a holiday 12 years later. In order to include the Veterans for World War II and the Korean War, Congress amended the 1938 act that made Armistice Day a holiday in 1954, striking the word Armistice and replacing it with Veterans. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed this into legislation June 1, 1954.
In the 1970’s Congress passed a uniform holiday bill which made Veterans Day fall on the fourth Monday of October. “It soon became apparent that Nov. 11 was a date of historical significance to many Americans. Therefore in 1978, Congress returned the observance to its traditional date,” explained Sekel.
Across America in communities large and small, ceremonies are held to thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.
A memorable service was offered when attendees were provided an opportunity to honor Veterans with laying a wreath by their branch of service at the memorial. Many were moved to tears as they recalled the memory of relatives and friends who have served.
Sekel concluded his speech with, “As we stand here today, in the land of the free because we are the home of the brave, let us not forget those who serve in peace or war and those who are currently standing tall shoulder to shoulder home and abroad to protect what was given to us so long ago by our founding fathers. Our most precious gift, our freedom.”