Veterans Day 2018 is a milestone.
It will be the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended hostilities in World War I, the war to end all wars.
As every school child knows (or should), it was signed by the United States and Germany on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month — popularizing the term “the 11th hour.”
A year later in a message declaring Nov. 11, 1919, the first Armistice Day, President Woodrow Wilson said, “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, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.”
More than 4 million Americans fought in the 19-month war and 110,000 died, 45,000 from the Spanish flu.
The war officially ended on June 29, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. However, in 1926 Congress officially recognized Nov. 11, 1918, as the end of the war.
That’s when the fighting stopped.
In 1938, Armistice Day became an official holiday largely in honor of World War I dead.
In 1954, after World War II and the Korean War, it became Veterans Day to honor all American veterans of all wars.
Highland is blessed to have the very active American Legion Post 421.
In the past year, we’ve covered the post presenting scholarships to essay-contest winners, leading an impressive Memorial Day observance, picking up litter next to State Route 210, sharing their mission with the Highland Area Chamber of Commerce, hosting a booth at Discover Highland and endless barbecues at its lodge on a special corner where Highland Avenue turns nicer.
On Halloween, the post Auxiliary led the bimonthly visit to the Highland Palms convalescent home, a longtime practice that’s written into the bylaws, according to its leader, Chris Marin.
Apparently, a lifetime of service never goes away.