Nov 11, 2005

Veteran's Day

veterand's day2

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of November an armistice was called for the end of World War I. On the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier:
In 1921, the American Unknown Soldier, symbolizing all the unknown dead, was chosen in an unusual way. Six soldiers of the American Army of Occupation in Germany were selected from different sectors to act as pallbearers. They met at Chalons-sur-Marne, and were interviewed by General Rogers. Next day, Sergeant Edward F. Younger of the 59th Infantry was asked to make a choice among four caskets, with unidentified bodies disinterred from American cemeteries at Bony, Belleau Wood, Romagne, and Thiaucourt. When the sergeant was ready to perform his solemn duty, he received a bouquet of white roses, with instructions to proceed into the City Hall at Chalons, where the four caskets stood. Sergeant Younger realized fully the grave importance of his action; and after bowing his head, he walked around the coffins three times. On the fourth round, he seemed involuntarily drawn to the second one. Reverently, he laid the roses on it, saluted and reported to his commanding officer that he had accomplished his mission. The body of the Unknown Soldier was brought home on the cruiser, Olympia, reaching Washington, D.C., on November 9, 1921. For three days thousands of people passed by as the body lay in state in the rotunda of the Capitol. For this important Armistice Day in 1921, President Harding requested that flags be flown from sunrise to sunset at half mast, and that all Americans pay silent tribute as the casket was lowered into the tomb at 11 A.M. on November 11, 1921. There were elaborate ceremonies. High army, navy, and other service personnel, along with diplomats, who had followed the caisson to Arlington, heard the President's address. Many wreaths came from all over our country, and from abroad, these were placed on the plain white marble tomb, on which is these words:

Here rests in honored glory An American Soldier Known but to God.

Here's a history of Veteran's Day from the Army. The Library of Congress has a companion page to the book, Forever a Soldier: Unforgettable Stories of Wartime Service. You can search the database for stories, pictures and audio of individual veterans. Here's a website devoted to Arlington National Cemetery. Here's a history of the writing of the poem, "In Flanders Fields," a poem often associated with Veteran's Day.

Veteran Kevin Vargas writes about the meaning of Veteran's Day.

More at Basil's Blog, Don Surber and Stop the ACLU.

No comments: