Every Veterans Day, people gather together for parades, barbecues and other celebrations. APSU recognized the holiday this year with a day off from classes, art galleries and a Veterans Day parade on Saturday morning.
Kenneth McDuffie, senior business technology and marketing major, observes the holiday in his own way. He was a transportation coordinator in the military. For him, Veterans Day has historical and personal significance.
“If it were not for young men and women these days actually signing up, putting their right hand up, and going to defend their country we would not have the defense we have,” McDuffie said. “With me serving as long as I did, going into many combat and doing what I did…Veterans Day just gets you to remember where you come from, where this country used to be.”
McDuffie recalls his time while he was deployed.
“I worked in the detainment facility in which you actually manned a cell or did foot patrols.”
Whatever activities people do to celebrate the holiday, many people in the U.S. take Veterans Day as a time to reflect on and recognize service members.
But Veterans Day did not start off as a national holiday.
At the 11th hour, on the 11th day, during the 11th month in 1918 fighting between Germany and the Allies stopped, because of the terms of an armistice agreement.
President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation on the one-year anniversary celebrating Nov. 11 as Armistice Day. The day included events like parades and public meetings commemorating the agreement.
On May 13, 1938, Congress made Armistice Day an official holiday.
World War II began a year later and people felt veterans from this war and the Korean War needed a day of remembrance as well.
In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a bill changing the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day to thank all who had served in the armed forces of the U.S. both living and dead.
Throughout the years and the name changes, one thing remains constant about the holiday, servicemen and servicewomen have given their lives to serve the U.S. and the purpose of Veterans Day is to say thank you.
“Veterans day is a time where you reflect on your past and those that actually served.” McDuffie said. “My thing is some gave some, but when you really look at the bottom line, some gave all. It is a special day.”