A PROCLAMATION BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – VETERANS DAY, 2010
On Veterans Day, we come together to pay tribute to the men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States Armed Forces. Americans across this land commemorate the patriots who have risked their lives to preserve the liberty of our Nation, the families who support them, and the heroes no longer with us.
It is not our weapons or our technology that make us the most advanced military in the world; it is the unparalleled spirit, skill, and devotion of our troops. As we honor our veterans with ceremonies on this day, let our actions strengthen the bond between a Nation and her warriors.
In an unbroken line of valor stretching across more than two centuries, our veterans have charged into harm’s way, sometimes making the ultimate sacrifice, to protect the freedoms that have blessed America. Whether Active Duty, Reserve, or National Guard, they are our Nation’s finest citizens, and they have shown the heights to which Americans can rise when asked and inspired to do so.
Our courageous troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the globe have earned their place alongside previous generations of great Americans, serving selflessly, tour after tour, in conflicts spanning nearly a decade.
Long after leaving the uniform behind, many veterans continue to serve our country as public servants and mentors, parents and community leaders. They have added proud chapters to the story of America, not only on the battlefield, but also in communities from coast to coast. They have built and shaped our Nation, and it is our solemn promise to support our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen as they return to their homes and families.
America’s sons and daughters have not watched over her shores or her citizens for public recognition, fanfare, or parades. They have preserved our way of life with unwavering patriotism and quiet courage, and ours is a debt of honor to care for them and their families. These obligations do not end after their time of service, and we must fulfill our sacred trust to care for our veterans after they retire their uniforms.
As a grateful Nation, we are humbled by the sacrifices rendered by our servicemembers and their families out of the deepest sense of service and love of country. On Veterans Day, let us remember our solemn obligations to our veterans, and recommit to upholding the enduring principles that our country lives for, and that our fellow citizens have fought and died for.
With respect for and in recognition of the contributions our service men and women have made to the cause of peace and freedom around the world, the Congress has provided (5 U.S.C. 6103(a)) that November 11 of each year shall be set aside as a legal public holiday to honor our Nation’s veterans.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim November 11, 2010, as Veterans Day. I encourage all Americans to recognize the valor and sacrifice of our veterans through appropriate public ceremonies and private prayers. I call upon Federal, State, and local officials to display the flag of the United States and to participate in patriotic activities in their communities. I call on all Americans, including civic and fraternal organizations, places of worship, schools, and communities to support this day with commemorative expressions and programs.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.
For answers to the questions below, go to www1.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.
For further information on Veterans Day, go to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at www1.va.gov/opa/vetsday.
1. On what day is Veterans Day officially observed every year?
2. What is the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day?
3. When did Veterans Day become a national legal holiday?
4. a) Why was Veterans Day called Armistice Day until 1954?
b) Why was it changed?
5. Who was the first president to issue a Veterans Day Proclamation?
6. Ask a grandparent how Veterans Day was commemorated when he/she was a teenager.
[Answers to these questions will be included with tomorrow’s (Nov. 12) answers email.]
How will you honor our veterans this Veterans Day? Visit the following websites for some ideas:
The Fisher House Foundation at fisherhouse.org.
The PenFed Foundation at pentagonfoundation.org.
The Honor Flight Network at honorflight.org.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at www4.va.gov/kids.
Although Veterans Day is a day to honor those who have served, we have included some suggestions/websites for how to help soldiers currently serving in the military. Below are two ways to encourage the families of those currently serving:
- Visit. This can be a great source of encouragement for the military family. But always ask first before dropping by.
- Communicate. Mark your calendars. Make a weekly reminder note to send a card or make a call to encourage the military family. Send letters of appreciation for the service they are rendering our nation. Also, send a funny card, poem, cartoon, or photo to brighten their day.
**For a great movie about three veterans returning home from WWII, watch The Best Years of Our Lives.
NOTE: The wearing of poppies in honor of America’s war dead is traditionally done on Memorial Day, not Veterans Day. The practice of wearing of poppies takes its origin from the poem In Flanders Fields, written in 1915 by John McCrae.
Have you ever read the Flanders Fields poem? Do you learn about Flanders Fields in history class? Have you ever given money to a veteran offering poppies at supermarkets or church? Do you know how this tradition first began or what is done with the money collected? For history of the Veterans Day poppies go to www1.va.gov/opa/publications/celebrate/flower.pdf.
IN FLANDERS FIELDS
by John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly.
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Daily “Answers” emails are provided for Daily News Articles, Tuesday’s World Events and Friday’s News Quiz.