To all Americans, November 11th should be one of the most celebrated holidays of the year. It’s the day every year that we honor those, past and present, who have served to protect our country and our freedom.
South Carolina has a deep connection to military service, with approximately 400,000 veterans living here, and is home to seven military bases. Charleston County has the second highest number of veterans in our state, behind Richland County.
Veterans Day itself is fairly new to being a national holiday and I’d like to share a little about how it came to be.
The History of Veterans Day
The modern-day American Veterans Day started as Armistice Day, which is a shared day for many countries across the world to celebrate the ending of fighting in World War I on November 11th at 11 a.m. Congress recognized this day in 1926, and it was recognized as a national holiday in 1938 — originally intended to honor those who served in the First Great World War.
Arlington National Cemetery is the epicenter of celebrating this special day on our soil. This started with the body of an unnamed soldier who had died in World War I, and was brought back home to be laid to rest. As we experienced other wars, the bodies of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice were brought back to America and were laid to rest at the Tomb of the Unknowns and were honored on November 11th. This plaza symbolizes the sacrifice of many soldiers through many centuries and is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by the Army honor guard.
Today, one of the most famous celebrations of Veterans Day is at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC at 11 a.m., where a wreath is presented at the Tomb of the Unknowns, followed by an elaborate parade.
Veterans Day is meant to celebrate all veterans who have served and put their lives on the line for our country. Memorial Day is meant to remember those who lost their lives fighting for our freedom.
Locally, there are numerous Veterans Day celebrations. In addition to the Veterans Day parade downtown early in the week, there is a Veterans Day Tribute at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center on Friday, November 10th at 10:30 a.m.
While this is a very special day to honor all those who served, it’s important to remember we should be thanking them and their families for their sacrifices and service on a daily basis. This day is meant for our country as a whole to stop our daily routine and honor the men and women who put it all on the line.