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Letter from the Editor – Saluting service on a special day

Hollywood, MD – We are wrapping up a memorable week in America. Tuesday Nov. 8 was Election Day and Friday, Nov. 11 marks the observance of Veterans Day. A younger coworker asked me whose bright idea it was for two national holidays to happen within the same week. There is actually a story behind it and all the players, I believe, stood for everything that’s great about America.

Veterans Day began as Armistice Day in 1918 when The Great World War (now known as World War I) ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Armistice Day became a federal holiday in 1938. In 1954, Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day. The holiday honors the brave men and women of the Armed Forces—Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, National Guard and Coast Guard.

In 1968, a federal measure called the Uniform Holiday Bill was passed moving Washington’s Birthday (now Presidents’ Day), Memorial Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day to Mondays. The hospitality and travel industry lobbied heavily for this change, citing three-day holiday weekends as potentially beneficial to the economy. When the law went into effect in 1971, Veterans Day ended up on Oct. 25. Many Americans saw a problem with this, especially since the original intent of the observance was to mark the end of World War I, once labeled “the war to end all wars.” There is nothing wrong with wanting a three-day weekend but the Nov. 11 date had too much historic significance. The general public, along with several state legislatures and, most significantly all major veterans’ service organizations, urged the return of the holiday to its original date. In 1975 it was reinstated, effective 1978.

While we should be grateful every single day—especially Election Day—for the service and protection of our Armed Forces, having a special day for parades, ceremonies and related events is important. We salute the Armed Forces veterans, not just for their sacrifice, but for their insistence that their predecessors and successors always have one day that captures the mindset of America.

And oh, by the way, since Veterans Day falls on a Friday this year, we get our three-day weekend after all. After this election, we could sure use it!

To all who are serving and have served, we offer our appreciation! You enjoy your weekend, too.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

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