Next Monday, on November 11, 2013, we celebrate Veterans Day. The date of Nov. 11 is very significant because it was on Nov. 11,1918 that an armistice was declared between the Allied Nations and Germany. This really was the beginning of the end of World War I. A wartime armistice is defined as an agreement to cease hostilities, and this armistice went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. For that reason, Nov. 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of WW I.
In 1938, the United States Congress made the 11th of November of each year a legal holiday. It was to be a day dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be celebrated and known as Armistice Day. Armistice Day was initially intended to be a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I. The intent of this day has always been to set a specific annual date for us to remember and honor our veterans.
Following World War II and the Korean War, the concept of our celebration of Veterans Day continued to evolve. Of course, World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen in our nation's history.
Many of our veterans also served in the American forces that fought in Korea. In 1954, the United States Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by removing the word armistice and replaced it with the word veterans. With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became the official day to honor American veterans of all wars. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who previously served as a WW II General, officially signed this legislation into law in 1954.
Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11th, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. This date to observe Veterans Day on November 11th preserves the historical significance of the date, and reminds us all to focus attention on the very important contributions of our United States veterans. Veterans Day is a special day to celebrate and honor all of America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good of these United States.
So, what is the difference between Veterans Day in November and Memorial Day in May? In the United States we celebrate our Memorial Day on the last Monday in May. The difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day is that Memorial Day honors service members who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during their military service.
On Veterans Day we offer very special thanks and recognition to honor our living veterans who served honorably in the military, both in wartime or in peacetime. Of course, we also recall the ultimate contribution of our many veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice. Next Monday, on Nov. 11, 2013, let's all be sure to remember to thank all our veterans for their contributions to help preserve our precious freedoms.
Further, we are honored and blessed to have the Jacobetti Home for Veterans here in Marquette. If you wish to volunteer to assist our veterans at this facility, please contact them at Jacobetti Volunteer Services, 906-226-3576, ext. 396.
Editor's note: Dr. Jim Surrell, author of "SOS (Stop Only Sugar) Diet," has his practice at the Digestive Health Clinic at Marquette General Health System. Requests for health topics for this column are encouraged. Contact Dr. Surrell by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.