Jackson will be host to two public celebrations of Veterans Day this Friday, Nov. 11.
To start off the day, the Jackson High School Music Department will host a Veterans Day assembly at 9 a.m. in the high school’s event center. The community is invited, and many local veterans attend every year.
This moving tribute is packed with patriotic music, brief speeches, a recognition of veterans who served in each branch of the U.S. military, and more.
Following the formal program, there will be a reception in the JHS commons area next to the events center.
There is no admission charge to attend. Parking is available in the parking lot on Oklahoma Street. Assistance will be available for those in need.
The day’s celebration will come to a close at 4 p.m. in Uptown Jackson with the Veterans Day parade, sponsored by the Altenthal-Joerns American Legion Post 158 and VFW Post 10495.
This year’s parade marshal will be Larry Koehler.
Car clubs, Scout troops, the Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution, Legion and VFW Ladies Auxiliaries, and Missouri Veterans Home vans filled with waving veterans have all participated in the past.
Anyone who wishes to take part in this year’s parade should gather by the Frozen Food Locker and City Cemetery entrance on High Street by 3:30 p.m. Military vehicles, antique cars or personal vehicles decorated in red white and blue are all welcome, said David Hitt of the American Legion. “The only thing we don’t want is horses, because of the mess,” he said.
Prior to the parade, the Rotary Club of Southeast Missouri Service will hand out American flags to young people along the parade route until supplies run out.
Veterans Day is different from Memorial Day and Armed Forces Day. Memorial Day (the last Monday in May) honors members of the military who have died; Armed Forces Day (May 20) honors current military members; and Veterans Day (Nov. 11) honors past military members.
Veterans Day began as Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I. Although the “Great War” officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, fighting had ceased seven months earlier, when an armistice (a temporary cessation of hostilities) went into effect between the Allied nations and Germany on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11thmonth of 1918.
A year later, on Nov. 11, 1919, U.S. Pres. Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 to be the first commemoration of Armistice Day.
On May 13, 1938, an act was approved to make Armistice Day a legal holiday. It was dedicated to world peace and honored veterans of World War I, a war that had been dubbed, “the war to end all wars.”
It wasn’t truly the war to end all wars, for World War II was brewing in Europe at that time. Following the conclusions of World War II in 1945 and the Korean War in 1953, it was decided to expand the meaning of Armistice Day to include all veterans. On June 1, 1954, legislation declared Nov. 11 a day to honor American veterans of all wars. In October of that year, U.S. Pres. Dwight Eisenhower signed legislation officially changing the name from Armistice day to Veterans Day.
On June 28, 1968, the Uniform Holiday Bill was signed, intending to create three-day holidays for federal workers by moving Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Columbus Day to Mondays. Veterans Day became the fourth Monday in October. The first Veterans Day observed under the new law was on Oct. 25, 1971. Several states did not go along with the federal legislation, and the original date carried so much importance to Americans, that confusion reigned, causing U.S. Pres. Gerald Ford to sign legislation on Sept. 20, 1975, returning Veterans Day to Nov. 11. The law went into effect in 1978, and Nov. 11 has been Veterans Day ever since.