JAY/LIVERMORE FALLS — Veterans Day observances will be held Wednesday, Nov. 11, in Jay and Livermore Falls.

Members of the George Bunten Post 10 American Legion, Frank L. Mitchell Post 3335 VFW and Lane-Dube Post 33 AMVETS and their auxiliaries will gather to remember and honor all veterans.

The schedule is:

8:45 a.m. — Livermore Falls Memorial Bridge for prayer, wreath-laying and firing squad to honor those lost at sea.

9:10 a.m. — Brettuns Memorial in Livermore for prayer, wreath-laying and firing squad.

9:40 a.m. — Livermore Falls Union Park for prayer, wreath-laying and firing squad.

10 a.m. — Jay War Monument for prayer, wreath-laying and firing squad, Chisholm Square.

10:20 a.m. — Fayette Memorial for prayer, wreath-laying and firing squad.

11 a.m. — VFW Post 3335, Jay for a light luncheon.

History of Veterans Day

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” — officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. For that reason, Nov. 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

In November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “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 the nations . . . “

The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words: “Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far-reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

“Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through goodwill and mutual understanding between nations; and

“Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our states have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.”

An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday — a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.”

Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the nation’s history. After American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

That same year on Oct. 8, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first “Veterans Day Proclamation” which stated: “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the executive branch of the government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.”

In 1958, the White House advised VA’s General Counsel that the 1954 designation of the VA administrator as chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee applied to all subsequent VA administrators. Since March 1989 when VA was elevated to a cabinet level department, the secretary of veterans affairs has served as the committee’s chairman.

The Uniform Holiday Bill was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to ensure three-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: President George Washington’s birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Columbus Day. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.

The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on Oct. 25, 1971. The commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of citizens, so on Sept. 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a law that returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people.


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