As with everything else Veterans Day has been affected by COVID-19 – no parades, no free breakfasts, no potlucks, no school presentations commemorating our Veterans. But we can still take time to honor the Veterans who served our country.
We celebrate this special day every year, but what do you know about?
Last year I shared a few facts about Veterans Day from the U.S. Department of Defense website. To see what you know – or can remember, here’s a pop quiz.
1) Is there an apostrophe in Veterans Day? Okay, that answer is obvious. But why is there not an apostrophe?
2) Are Veterans Day and Memorial Day the same?
3) What was Veterans Day originally called?
4) Because of the Uniform Holiday Bill in 1968, for a few years Veterans Day was celebrated on what day in October?
To support older adults who served in the armed forces, each county in the Gorge has a Veterans Services Office staffed by a Veterans Service Officer (VSO). Each officer works through a complex system of rules and regulations to support our veterans and their surviving spouses by assisting them with veterans claims. This includes disability compensation, non-service connected pensions for war period veterans, aid and attendance, VA health care, education benefits, VA loan information, and more.
While most offices are closed to drop-ins because of COVID-19, you can still phone the VSO in your county. In Wasco County call Russell Jones or Patrick Wilbern at 541-506-2502; Hood River County call Eric Akin at 541-386-1080; Klickitat County call William Smith in Goldendale (509) 773-2467 or White Salmon (509) 493-6031; and in Sherman County call Paul Conway at (541) 565-3408.
Now let’s see which questions you answered correctly.
1) There is no apostrophe in Veterans Day. The holiday is not a day that “belongs” to one veteran or multiple veterans, as an apostrophe would imply. It’s a day for honoring all veterans.
2) No. Memorial Day is a time to remember those who gave their lives for our country. Veterans Day honors all of those who have served the country in war or peace whether living or not - although it’s largely intended to thank living veterans for their sacrifices.
3) Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day commemorating the armistice between the Allies and Germany on “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”. For that reason, Nov. 11, 1918, was largely considered the end of “the war to end all wars” and named Armistice Day. But then World War II and the Korean War happened, so on June 1, 1954 Congress amended the commemoration by changing the word “armistice” to “veterans” so the day would honor American veterans of all wars.
4) For a while Veterans Day was officially recognized on the fourth Monday of every October. Congress signed the Uniform Holiday Bill in 1968 to ensure that a few federal holidays including Veterans Day would be celebrated on a Monday hoping it would encourage family activities over a long weekend. But when the first Veterans Day under this new bill was held, as you would guess, there was confusion about the change. Within a few years, it became apparent the public wanted to celebrate Veterans Day on November 11th, since it was a matter of historic and patriotic significance. On Sept. 20, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed another law which returned the annual observance to its original date.
The name of the 1968 Presidential candidate and segregationist running for the American Independent Party that could have forced a contingent election in the United States House of Representatives was George Wallace. Since I must finish this column early because of Veterans Day, I’ll mention those who sent in correct answers next week.
In the Pacific theater during World War II, John F. Kennedy commanded a boat that was sliced in two by a Japanese destroyer killing two while eleven survived. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the name of the patrol torpedo boat? Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with two Mark 8 torpedoes – deactivated!
Well, it’s been another week when the more I rush the slower I go. Until we meet again, from forty-five years of marriage I’ve learned it’s true, “Happy Wife, Happy Life”.
“If you are losing a tug of war with a tiger, give him the rope before he gets to your arm. You can always buy a new rope” Will Cuppy – American humorist