Veterans Day marks 100 years since end of WWI
By Gene Kemmeter
Veterans Day marks a milestone in U.S. history in 2018. At 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month (Sunday, Nov. 11), the world will observe the Armistice, a truce worked out to bring an end to World War I, the “Great World War” as it was called, along with “The War to End all Wars.”
The first Armistice Day was observed Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I, and the celebrations continued annually before Congress passed a resolution in 1926 calling for an annual observance. The date became a national holiday in 1938, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day in 1954 to honor all veterans who served their country during war and peace.
Participation in Veterans Day activities is dwindling as fewer people serve in the military, a situation caused by a professional fighting force that depends upon fewer troops. The most noticeable situation on the holiday is people realize their mail wasn’t delivered that day, and banks, station and federal offices are closed. For most people, including veterans themselves, it’s a regular workday.
America’s support has always been spotty for their veterans who leave home to help fight for the nation. That situation dates back to the Revolutionary War when soldiers went unpaid for long periods while serving in the military.
Service in the military impacts everyone by varying degrees. Some veterans come home wounded physically. Others suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Those injuries should require a grateful nation to look after their well-being for the future.
Other factors have also impacted veterans during their service. Asbestos was used in ships and other military operations from the 1930s through the 1970s, exposing servicemen to its effects. From 1962 to 1975, the military used Agent Orange, a herbicide and defoliant chemical used to clear plants around Vietnam that causes cancers and other health problems.
Admitting it has been responsible for veterans’ health problems has been a difficult action for the government to take and has usually come decades after the fact, often long after a large percentage of the victims have died.
Even the Agent Orange argument continues. The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act has passed the House, but is bogged down in the Senate. The legislation extends Agent Orange protections to naval personnel serving aboard ships in Vietnamese waters. The Trump administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are battling the law.
Veterans receiving assistance also face difficulties with service. A veteran who used VA services suffered a heart attack and stroke and was taken to a nearby non-VA hospital for treatment in 2010. The VA refused to pay the bill, and the veteran had to sue the VA. A court ruled in his favor, but the VA is still trying to avoid payment.
Serving in the military is not a lucrative position for an individual and provides many pitfalls and dangers. The military is a government agency, one that is required to defend the nation, prompting individuals in the military put their lives on the line. Shouldn’t the government and their fellow citizens provide proper care for them for their years of service?