Story by. LaDana Moore
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, World War I ended. This day became known as “Armistice Day.” In 1921, an unknown World War I American soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Similarly, unknown soldiers had been buried in England at Westminster Abbey and in France at the Arc de Triomphe. All of these memorials took place on November 11th to commemorate the end of the “war to end all wars.” In 1926, Congress resolved to officially call November 11th Armistice Day. Then in 1938, the day was named a national holiday.
Many organizations and communities celebrate this national holiday known as Veteran’s day.
On the eve of Veterans Day teachers and student body of Ned E. Williams Elementary marched outside on a mission; to celebrate our soldiers who fought and are still fighting for freedom all over the world. With American flags firmly stuck into the ground, students warmly welcomed Veterans and their families as they stepped onto their campus.
To open the honorary program, fifth grade Ned E. Williams choir under the direction of Brandon Dawson sang “This is my Country” in front of fellow classmates and Veteran supporters. Student Janiyah Johnson leads the way for Veterans to be seated with the American flag proudly raised high. Teachers, students and visitors cheered and clapped patriotically for Veterans as they continued to march on to their respective seats. Moreover, the program continued with student council leading pledges to the American and Texas Flag. Even more and emotionally moving was where Ned E. Williams teacher and Veteran Gregory Harmon performed a flag ceremony honoring fallen soldiers.
The program continued with a memorial observance and another selection from the fifth grade choir singing, “Battle Hymn of the Republic” featuring Diana Rogers. Choir members all gathered around to give reverence to the Veterans and explained the importance of the day.
Students have great appreciation for our veterans and their sacrifices. Cameron Layman proudly said, “Veterans Day means that we honor the brave people who keep us safe.” Sarah Barnes also a member of the choir firmly stated, “Veterans Day is very important. They fight for us, our country and our freedom.”
U.S. Army Veteran Orenthial Crittendon who served in Operation Desert Storm shared his joy for Veterans Day, “It means a lot to me that the kids celebrate Veterans Day. Some of the people that went with me didn’t make it back. So, it feels good to enjoy the festivities and celebrate with my fellow Veterans.”
Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the importance of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.