Honoring our veterans — this week and always
I recently spent some time with our FM Student Veteran Club members. I admitted to them that I honestly didn’t know the history or the meaning behind Veterans Day (other than I knew we honor and celebrate our Veterans around this time of year). I did some research and spoke with our Veteran Club Student President, Maegan Mueller, and Daniel Towne, our FM Veteran Club Advisor. Dan had this to share with me:
“Being a veteran has special meaning to me. It means that I was, that I still am, part of something bigger. That I was physically and mentally able to defend this country as necessary. My grandfather on my mother’s side and an uncle, one of my father’s brothers, were both combat Veterans. I served in the Army for four years and never had to witness combat. I always had a lot of respect for those two and their service.”
Every year on Nov. 11, Americans celebrate and honor veterans for their bravery and sacrifice to our great country. Formerly known as Armistice Day, Veterans Day was originally made a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, taking place on Nov. 11, 1918.
In 1938, a date around Nov. 11 was dedicated to the cause of world peace and the new holiday was in honor of World War I veterans. Later, in 1954, after both the Korean War and World War II, the U.S. Congress amended the Act of 1938 by replacing the word “Armistice” with “Veterans.” Many veteran service organizations had been urging this for years. Three-day weekends for all federal employees was established by the Uniforms Holiday Bill in 1968.
Other national holidays covered by this bill, include; Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, and Columbus Day.
After several confusing bills that moved the federal holiday around within the month of November, it was President Gerald R. Ford, in 1978, who signed the law which returned it to its original observance date of Nov. 11.
When I visit the Veterans Study Lounge on campus, there is always a mix of characters; the discussions vary from political, to religious, to regular everyday struggles with kids, parents, classes, and finances. I asked Maegan (Army veteran and wife of a current military man) what Veterans Day means to her and her family.
Maegan said, “Veterans Day is a celebration of all those who are serving now and who have served in the military. The bonds that we form while serving are stronger than blood. My family sees this as a day to embrace those that are close with us and to reminisce about all that we and others have sacrificed.”
Fulton-Montgomery Community College is honored to have Veterans choose our campus to study and learn, while sharing their great experience and perspective with us. Thank you to all the past and present veterans who have served in the military, and to their families as well for their sacrifice. Honor a veteran this week by saying, “Thank you for your service.”
Christie Davis is an Academic advisor/early admission liaison.