by Lisa M. Sheldon, Guest Writer
Veterans Day has been celebrated in the U.S. since
1919 when President Woodrow Wilson declared it Armistice Day, which was
the end of hostile operations in World War I. In 1938, it became a legal
holiday, but was not renamed Veterans Day until 1954. Since its
beginnings, the country has found creative ways to celebrate.
Wherever you are in West Virginia, you can count on
the simple fact that our veterans will be honored with the respect and
love they deserve, regardless of the type of celebration. We have come
up with some great ways to say thank you.
The most popular and visible celebrations are the
Veterans Day parades that occur from the weekend prior until Veteran’s
Day. The parades may include regular floats and bands, etc., but the
highlights are always the veterans. Some of them will be riding in
convertibles and waving. Some will be on floats. Some will be marching
with their VFW and American Legion posts, or other organizations. The
one place you will always see veterans is proudly leading the way,
displaying the colors of the U.S. and branches of its Armed Services. No
matter what mode of transportation they use, the sight brings pride, joy
and sometimes tears to observers.
There are veterans appreciation dinners put on by
area churches and civic and community organizations in nearly every
county. Dinners range from fancy catered events to hometown covered dish
luncheons. Servicemen and women from the past and present are encouraged
to share their lives and events of service. These are great
opportunities for community members to personally say thank you to
West Virginia youths do not forget their veterans
either. Many schools have assemblies that include flag raisings,
patriotic music and speeches by area veterans. Another event is Take a
Vet to School Day, which has been a hit in high schools that have
participated. The veteran can be a family member or a community member.
During the day, veterans are encouraged to participate as much as they
would like. There are also special events planned for the veterans and
Other celebrations include flag dedication
ceremonies at county seats, fraternal organizations and cemeteries, and
5K and 10K runs. The events include two main things: an opportunity to
visit with and learn from those who have served and an opportunity to
say thank you.
Take time to participate in your area’s Veterans
Day celebrations and let a veteran know that you appreciate the
sacrifice and service they provided for the safety and security of the
nation and for you personally.