Take Time To Honor Our Nation’s Veterans On Friday, Nov. 11

As a divisive national election draws to a close, it is all-together fitting and proper that the end of next week brings an observance that can help bring people back together. Next Friday, Americans near and far will spend the day remembering the past, while actively pondering the nation’s strength and future. Friday, Nov. 11 is Veterans Day, where those who have served in the various branches of our military services will be recognized for their role in preserving the freedom and lifestyle we enjoy.

Veterans Day dates back to the end of “The Great War” and is commemorated to remember the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, when an armistice went into effect, marking an end to hostilities in what is now known as World War I.

A year later, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11, 1919 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day by stating, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory.”

In 1938, Veterans Day became a federal holiday, giving all Americans the opportunity to honor the veterans of World War I and to help perpetuate world peace. Ironically, less than a year later, Germany invaded Poland and World War II began. The rest, as they say, is history.

This year, Veterans Day falls three days after the presidential election, and there has been a call from some voices to merge the two into a cohesive, patriotic day. The organization “Vet Day Vote Day” has an online petition at www.vetdayvoteday.org urging this idea, stating, “By moving Election Day to Veterans Day, this nation will directly link the service and sacrifice of all military personnel with our most precious right as citizens — the right they have protected.” In 2014, Election Day did fall on Veterans Day. Making this permanent might not change an election, but the act of voting can become a message sent to all veterans that we know the impact of what they have done for us.

Regardless of the day, it’s important to pay tribute to the women and men who have served. Thankfully, our local communities have a number of events planned to honor our veterans.

On Thursday, Nov. 10, the Wellington High School band will present its annual “Salute to Veterans” at 7 p.m. in the Wellington High School theater (2101 Greenview Shores Blvd.). There will be a performance by the WHS wind ensemble and jazz band. Admission is free, and the event is open to the community, with a particular focus on veterans and active service personnel. There will be a dessert reception following the concert. Donations will be collected for Forgotten Soldiers Outreach. For more information, call (561) 795-4900.

On the morning of Friday, Nov. 11, the Village of Wellington and the American Legion Chris Reyka Memorial Wellington Post 390 will honor current and former members of the armed forces at Wellington’s annual Veterans Day ceremony. Activities begin with a parade starting at 8:15 a.m. at the Wellington Municipal Complex, followed at 8:30 a.m. by a ceremony at the Wellington Veterans Memorial. Veterans will have an opportunity to register the morning of the event at the Wellington tent to be recognized during the ceremony.

On the evening of Friday, Nov. 11, the Village of Royal Palm Beach will honor Veterans Day at 6 p.m. at the Veterans Park amphitheater. The event will include a flag-raising ceremony, followed by a motivational presentation and live music performed by the Royal Palm Beach Community Band. Veterans attending the ceremony wishing to be recognized are encouraged to call (561) 790-5149.

Finally, the Wellington Community Foundation will host “Red, White & Blue Jeans: A Nostalgic Salute to Our Veterans” on Friday, Nov. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the Wanderers Club. For tickets, call (561) 333-9843 or visit www.wellingtoncommunityfoundation.org.

Next week, let us show our gratitude and respect for the service of our veterans. They have earned it — every one of them.