Fountain Hills veterans organizations will team up to present the annual Veterans Day program at 11 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 11, at the Veterans Memorial at Fountain Park. The public is invited to attend.
Keynote speaker for the event this year is Brig. General Don Harvel, USAF (ret.).
Additional speakers this year include John Weedo, commander American Legion Post #58; Steve Gonnella, commander VFW Post #7507 and Dave Nelson, commandant, Marine Corps League #1439. There is additional participation by members of AMVETS Post #7.
As she does for most veterans’ ceremonies, Debbie Fisher will provide and lead music. The American Legion Color Guard will post and retire the colors.
Veteran’s Day was originally known as Armistice Day. While the official designation of the name “Armistice Day” was not made by Congress until May 13, 1938, Congress passed a joint resolution on June 4, 1926 calling upon the president to issue a proclamation recognizing the end of World War I and stating, in part, “this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations.” Armistice Day was also designated a legal holiday on May 13, 1938.
Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but, in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen in the Nation's history; and, after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in lieu thereof the word “Veterans.”
In 1971, Congress passed a bill creating three day weekends by moving several holidays to either a Friday or a Monday. Veteran’s Day was one of these holidays. The date was restored to November 11 in 1975.
The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: “[As] a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”