By DON BARNES
U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed an Armistice Day for Nov. 11, 1919. In proclaiming the holiday he said, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.”
The United States Congress passed a concurrent resolution seven years later on June 4, 1926, requesting that President Calvin Coolidge issue another proclamation to observe November 11 with appropriate ceremonies. An Act (52 Stat. 351; U.S. Code, Sec 87a) approved May 13, 1938 made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday; “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day”.
Military veterans often receive special treatment due to the sacrifices they made during the wars. And, they are generally treated with great respect and honor for their contribution to the world and their country. There have been exceptions. Veterans of unpopular conflicts, such as the Vietnam War, have been discriminated against. Others, such as veterans of conflicts like the Korean War, are often forgotten (even though the casualty rate in Korea was higher than that experienced in the Vietnam War) when compared with those who fought in the World Wars.
Many countries have longstanding traditions, ceremonies, and holidays to honor their veterans. Locally, there will be a parade in Poteau on Saturday..
Veterans Day is an annual United States holiday honoring military veterans. It is a federal holiday that is observed on Nov. 11. It is also celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world and falls on that date, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.
President Abraham Lincoln, in his second inaugural address, in 1865 towards the end of the U.S. Civil War, famously called for good treatment of veterans; “to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow. and his orphans”.
Each state of the United States sets specific criteria for state-specific veterans benefits. The state of Oklahoma is no exception and offers several benefits to the states veterans such as free fishing and hunting licenses and property and sales tax relief for 100 percent disabled veterans.
For federal medical benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, prior to Sept. 7, 1980 the veterans must have served at least 180 days of active duty, after that date, the veteran must have served at least 24 months. However, if the veteran was medically discharged and receives VA service-connected disability, the time limits are not applicable.
Women have served in the United States military for over two hundred years, often having had to disguise themselves as men in the early year. They were sometimes discriminated against and were sometimes known as “the invisible veterans”. They were not fully recognized as veterans until after World War II, and prior to this they were not eligible for VA benefits. The VA estimates that now, in 2011, women make up 40 percent of the veterans’ population.
Necessity has resulted in a number of sources of help being made available for veterans. Many of these are independent, charitable organizations. Military service can be a profoundly unnatural experience and it is likely some help may be needed in obtaining the benefits earned by veterans.
Such help can be provided by the local Disabled American Veterans, American Legion Veterans of foreign Wars and the Vietnam Veterans of America. For help in obtaining benefits contact Charlie Horsley at (918) 721-4219.
Don Barnes P.O. Box 602 Poteau, OK 74953 [email protected]