Fort Riley, Kansas



COMMUNITY CORNER – Veterans Day: Tribute 79 years in making

By Col. John D. Lawrence | GARRISON COMMANDER | November 09, 2017

     On this Veterans Day, on behalf of a grateful nation, I say thank you to every veteran from every service throughout America’s history. Today, we honor those who have served among us as examples of citizens who put the interests of the country above their own — a foundation of freedom we should all cherish.

     Veterans Day started in 1938, when legislation was passed to designate Nov. 11 as Armistice Day to honor veterans of World War I. The date was chosen to acknowledge the signing of the armistice that ended WWI — 11 a.m. of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918.

     A shoe repairman from Emporia, Kansas, Alvin J. King, and his wife raised their nephew who went to Germany to fight in World War II. The young man was killed in 1944 outside Habkirchen, Germany. Grief-stricken, King wanted to find a way to honor all veterans who served the country — during war and peacetime. He began a campaign to change the existing Armistice Day to Veterans Day, to encompass all veterans who served. He gained the support of various veteran’s organizations, as well as U.S. Representative Ed Rees of Emporia, to take the idea to Washington, D.C. It passed in the House and Senate and President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill and the first Veterans Day was held Nov. 11, 1954.

     Local celebrations continue this year to honor our veterans, with parades in Manhattan and Wichita and military appreciation football games at Kansas State University and Emporia State. Of course, many businesses offer free and discounted services — just do a quick web search or browse social media sites for full listings.

     Given our strong local ties with the history of Veterans Day, the phenomenal support we receive across the region, and our current service to the United States, please join me in saying thank you to our fellow veterans, past and present. Your service and sacrifice is necessary to the strength of our nation and appreciated at home and around the world.

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