Veterans Day, The History & Observances

Veteran's Day Comments

Veterans Day, The History  & Observances

 

Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually on November 11, that honors military veterans, that is, persons who served in the United States Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I; major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The United States previously observed Armistice Day. The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who gave their lives and those who perished while in service.

History of Veterans Day

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day for November 11, 1919. In proclaiming the holiday, he 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 the nations.”

The United States Congress passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, requesting that President Calvin Coolidge issue another proclamation to observe November 11 with appropriate ceremonies.[2] A Congressional 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’.”

In 1945, World War II veteran Raymond Weeks from Birmingham, Alabama, had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who died in World War I. Weeks led a delegation to Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, who supported the idea of National Veterans Day. Weeks led the first national celebration in 1947 in Alabama and annually until his death in 1985. President Reagan honored Weeks at the White House with the Presidential Citizenship Medal in 1982 as the driving force for the national holiday. Elizabeth Dole, who prepared the briefing for President Reagan, determined Weeks as the “Father of Veterans Day.”

U.S. Representative Ed Rees from Emporia, Kansas, presented a bill establishing the holiday through Congress. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, also from Kansas, signed the bill into law on May 26, 1954. It had been eight and a half years since Weeks held his first Armistice Day celebration for all veterans.

Congress amended the bill on June 1, 1954, replacing “Armistice” with “Veterans,” and it has been known as Veterans Day since.

The National Veterans Award was also created in 1954. Congressman Rees of Kansas received the first National Veterans Award in Birmingham, Alabama for his support offering legislation to make Veterans Day a federal holiday.

Although originally scheduled for celebration on November 11 of every year, starting in 1971 in accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October. In 1978, it was moved back to its original celebration on November 11. While the legal holiday remains on November 11, if that date happens to be on a Saturday or Sunday, then organizations that formally observe the holiday will normally be closed on the adjacent Friday or Monday, respectively.

 

Observance

Because it is a federal holiday, some American workers and many students have Veterans Day off from work or school. When Veterans Day falls on a Saturday then either Saturday or the preceding Friday may be designated as the holiday, whereas if it falls on a Sunday it is typically observed on the following Monday. A Society for Human Resource Management poll in 2010 found that 21 percent of employers planned to observe the holiday in 2011.

Non-essential federal government offices are closed. No mail is delivered. All federal workers are paid for the holiday; those who are required to work on the holiday sometimes receive holiday pay for that day in addition to their wages.

In his Armistice Day address to Congress, Wilson was sensitive to the psychological toll of the lean War years: “Hunger does not breed reform; it breeds madness,” he remarked. As Veterans Day and the birthday of the United States Marine Corps (November 10, 1775) are only one day apart, that branch of the Armed Forces customarily observes both occasions as a 96-hour liberty period.

 

Source:
Wikipedia

 

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October 17 – Daily Feast

October 17 – Daily Feast

We forget the road we have been over together….how difficult it was and how good. We matured together, giving courage and understanding. Undoubted loyalty is there between us, knowing always that we can rely on kindness. We put aside anything we could not understand until it became clear. The divine wrote in our contract to take care of this person, to load every rift with good humor and good words and always with the knowledge that we are not alone. We have planted good seeds, we have cultivated – so now comes the harvest. The joy of it is knowing we are not alone.

~ It is the same with human beings – there is someplace which is best adapted to each. ~

OKUTE – TETON SIOUX, 1911

‘A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II’ by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Why Do We Get In Our Own Way?

Why Do We Get In Our Own Way?

Author: Aidan Odinson

Some years ago when I was heavily involved in motorcycling, a certain motorcycle dealer made a remark to me about his competitor in a neighboring city. “I really like them,” he said. “They couldn’t do more for me if they were on my payroll!” The principle can certainly apply to Witches and Pagans. Do we help anyone besides our enemies by bickering among ourselves? Do we accomplish anything in so-called “Witch Wars” other than standing in the way of what we really need and want?

I am addressing the fact that we, as Witches and Pagans, have not yet figured out how to put aside our differences in order to accomplish something. At any rate, that appears to be the case too often. Please bear in mind that I am definitely not suggesting that we should even consider merging together into something as meaninglessly homogenized as some Christian denominations that I could mention. I am also not talking about giving up our differences. I am talking about keeping our differences in their proper perspective so that we can accomplish more, on a broader scope, than we have been able to achieve so far.

One of the most nagging problems we have is that too many of us let differences get in the way of accomplishing anything beyond the level of the very local group. Any number of Internet mailing lists and other efforts prove that some people cannot seem to rise above such disputes as “my tradition is better than yours,” or “your definition of that word is wrong, mine is the only right one,” or “your initiation isn’t as valid as mine.” My first reaction is to wonder why anyone would insist upon making an issue of something that is actually none of their business.

At this point, there is an opportunity for three reality checks. The first is that unless laws are being blatantly broken or basic tenets that we all agree upon are being violated, what a solitary does or what happens within a coven or similar group is their own business and nobody else’s. The second is that if people in any kind of position in Wicca or Paganism expect any degree of respect beyond their own little group, it will only happen as a result of their offering the same respect to others in similar positions in other groups. The third is that any religious group that has gained any degree of acceptance has done so by learning how and when to work together as a whole.

We have grown and are growing. Almost any town large enough to have scheduled airline service is also able to have at least one Pagan/Wiccan shop that does enough business to remain in business over a reasonably long term. I’ve seen one professor’s claim that we are the seventh largest religious group in the US, and the fastest growing. Someone else has made the claim that by 2010 we will be number three. If the latter is true, then that will mean that we will be ahead of at least one group which is already well-accepted by most of the religious mainstream in the United States and elsewhere.

So, why do we sometimes have difficulties in claiming the rights that other faiths seem to enjoy as a matter of course? Why do we have to raise issues in court that other faiths do not have to take to court? Why do we see ourselves portrayed so inaccurately in the popular media when a similar error concerning another faith would end someone’s career? Part of the problem might well be the fact that we are growing, and some other faiths do not appreciate the fact that many of our people used to be their people. But the bigger problem is that we have not yet learned to come together and work together when the need arises. There are times when we need to present a united front.

A quick look at a newspaper or a television news program reveals what happens when someone slanders or harms some other religious group. A top official (President, governor, mayor – and not a substitute assistant flunkey) meets with a group of their senior clergy, and things happen to correct the problem. A perfect example is the situation with Muslims since 9/11, insuring that those who follow Islam did not receive the same fate as Americans of Japanese ancestry in the US suffered in the wake of Pearl Harbor.

Whom would we send to such a meeting? I don’t know, and I am not sure that we would be able to agree on who would be in such a delegation. To begin with, there is no coalition, association, or even an informal network to form a delegation and request a meeting.

There have been times when such a meeting should have happened. Several of us remember the time when Governor Dubya of Texas claimed that he did not consider “Witchcraft” a legitimate religion. There were recent remarks about Pagans that were made by a certain White House official managing the “Faith-Based Initiatives.” Between those incidents, there was a young girl driven to suicide by her classmates in the same school district that had to be taken to federal court on another issue of religious discrimination against Witches. Anyone reading this is probably in a position to name a long list of such incidents. I promise you that if the victims had been Jews, Muslims, Hindus or Buddhists, there would have been such a meeting, and it would have happened quickly. Why did we have no such meetings? Because we have nobody, or even a selection of somebodies, who could be seen as being in a position to represent us as a whole!

Of course, part of the problem is that we are not yet an “organized religion” in the manner that most people think of religions. If we were to get organized based on the organizational models currently in use, we would be in danger of having our descendants criticize what we built. Worse yet, they would use the same criticism that we currently aim at some of larger present-day churches.

As a general rule, we comfortably do without the person some folks describe as “the fat bald guy behind the pulpit, telling us what to think.” Continuing that image, we also don’t have a hierarchy of people above that “fat bald guy” whose appointed duty is to insure that our own local “fat bald guy” follows the same party line as all of the other “fat bald guys.” Our covens and groves are as sovereign as our solitaries, and they need to remain so. It’s a major part of that which makes us what we are. But we must learn to work together, and come together when necessary. Witches are known for imagination and creativity, and so designing a structure that would meet the necessary goals while avoiding the known dangers should be within our grasp. That is not to say that it will be an easy task, but it can be done.

Learning to come together and work together is the first step.

First Lady Grows a Book

by Eric Steinman

Eleanor Roosevelt achieved the last vegetable garden planted at the White House back in the early 1940s. For approximately 65 years the White House lawn (which technically is considered a national park) was reserved for press conferences, Easter egg hunts, and photo ops. Nary a vegetable was grown for generations. First lady Michelle Obama sought to change all of that, while simultaneously addressing the nation’s need to rethink health and nutrition. So, she did the obvious thing and planted an organic garden (or more accurately, had it planted) on the White House lawn a few years back.

The yield was impressive, with tons of organic veggies, honey, etc, and the reception was largely positive (excepting a few naysayers who feel the First Lady is trying to impose a “nanny state” where nutrition is dictated from up high). Now, after two harvests comes the definitive, White House-approved book to go with the garden. The fittingly titled American Grown is a look at rebuilding the tradition of the White House garden, while taking a concerted look back at the history of the American garden (it wasn’t so long ago that nearly everyone that could, had their own backyard garden).

The First Lady has made some noise in the past, and ruffled some feathers, with her dedication to reframing how Americans, particularly American families, consider health and nutrition. For her, the journey seems like it was informed by personal experience, as she told NPR earlier this week:

“Obama says her path to becoming a health advocate was a personal journey. ‘Before coming to the White House, I was a busy working mother. My husband was a U.S. senator and was often not home. We found ourselves eating out more than we should, packing on the sugary drinks … the habits that you fall into just trying to get through the day. And our pediatrician kind of pulled me aside and said, ‘You might want to look at your children’s diet.’ ‘”

Are you inspired by the First Lady’s moves towards a new era in gardening, or do you see it as just a cynical undermining of personal choice? Do you have a garden and if so, has it changed the way you and your family eat? Whether or not you want to buy the book, is there any reason not to be in support of the mission of bringing backyard gardening back into the mainstream?

Ostara Traditions

Ostara Traditions

 

image Spring egg hunts have origins in many lands. Some think that the egg hunt was symbolic of our ancestors, who would search for birds nests in early Spring. The eggs in them provided much needed fresh protein to add to the diet after a long, lean winter. Of course, egg hunts also have origins in India and China, where they were tied to the Karmic belief that we must each find our own path in each new life. Egg hunts became popular in the United States thanks to Abraham Lincoln, who, in 1862, invited children form the Washington D.C. area to hunt for eggs on the White House lawn. This tradition continues even today.

 

 

image Eggs were buried by the Teutons to infuse the Earth with the life-giving properties of the egg. They were planted in fields, flower beds, window boxes and even animal barns for fertility. People would eat eggs in order to gain from the life-giving benefits of the egg.

 

 

image The Teutons believed it was very bad luck to wear your spring clothes before Ostara. They would secretly work all winter on beautiful new clothing for the Ostara celebration. This is where the tradition of having new, fancy clothes for Easter morning came from. It is also the origin of the ‘Easter parade’ to show off the new, beautiful clothing you now have.