US honors military service on Veterans Day
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Today, the United States is marking Veterans Day at various events across the country.
In Washington, D.C., many people observe the day by visiting the Vietnam War Memorial, which was opened 25 years ago. Later, a wreath-laying ceremony took place to honor military veterans buried at Arlington National Cemetery just outside Washington.
In the Chicago area, the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital had a dedication ceremony, to commemorate a gift of 500 new wheelchairs from the Wheelchair Foundation and the Knights of Columbus. It provided an opportunity for soldiers of different generations to meet.
"It's an honor to shake hands with veterans who came before me," said Christian Tecson, to the Chicago Tribune. Tecson, 27, who is in the National Guard, served two tours of duty in Iraq with the Marine Corps. "They paved the way for us, and we're carrying on the tradition."
In Denver, like so many other cities, a parade was held on this day. However, the Denver United Veterans Council told a number of anti-war groups that they were not invited, regardless of whether they were also veterans groups. In the end, they were permitted to march in the parade, but got a mixed reaction from the crowd. "Leave your politics at home! This is about veterans, not politics," shouted Alex Cuellar.
Presidential candidate John McCain paid tribute to veterans at the New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery. McCain, in turn, received praise for his own service by the other speakers.
"The war and Iraq has divided America, but none of us is divided in our appreciation and our love and affection for those men and women in the military who are serving the cause of freedom," McCain said in his speech. "Some of us here were in another war where America was divided in their support and that made our challenge of welcoming and bringing home all of veterans all the harder."
In Boston, Massachusetts' Govenor Deval Patrick honored the five surviving Tuskegee Airmen. Patrick called them "heroic pioneers," as he presented them with the Congressional Gold Medal, which they were awarded in March. At the same event, Air Force Captain Jenny D’Olympia, an Iraq War veteran, led a tribute to women veterans.
President George W. Bush said in his weekly radio address: "America owes a debt of gratitude to all those who have served in our Armed Forces. On Veterans Day, we remember those who have served in previous wars, those who are serving today, and those who did not live to become veterans."
Veterans Day is largely intended to thank veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to United States national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served — not only those who died — have sacrificed and done their duty. It was first observed on November 11, 1919, a year after the Armistice with Germany, though then it was known as Armistice Day, which is observed in many other countries.
- "War dead remembered 89 years on" — Wikinews, November 11, 2007
- Holly Ramer. "McCain Praised at Veterans Day Ceremony" — Associated Press, November 11, 2007
- Associated Press. "Tuskegee Airmen honored on Veterans Day" — Boston Herald, November 11, 2007
- Emma Graves Fitzsimmons. "Generations of veterans honored" — Chicago Tribune, November 11, 2007
- Valerie Richardson. "Protesters in Veterans Day parade jeered, cheered" — The Washington Times, November 11, 2007
- "Veterans Day Honors All Americans' Military Service" — VOA News, November 11, 2007
- Ben Goldberger. "Cruel irony department, Veterans Day edition" — Chicago Sun-Times, November 11, 2007
- Associated Press. "Bush urges Congress to pass veterans bill" — The Los Angeles Times, November 11, 2007
- "Veterans Day: a day to honor those who serve" — Lynchburg News & Advance, November 11, 2007
- Press Release: "President's Radio Address" — White House, November 10, 2007