More than 100 people were on hand in Kingston to pay tribute to veterans ranging from World War II to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
One of the speakers was Dr. Pat Powell, a World War II vet who was twice shot down in Europe and was held captive in Germany.
Nearby in Ardmore, the Veterans Center was the cornerstone for a Carter County observance. Local Boy Scouts and the Davis High School band also helped out. Guest speakers included Oklahoma Cabinet Secretary Norman Lamb.
The Grayson County Veteran Observance Ceremony is a long tradition in Sherman. Tuesday they laid a wreath on the war memorial at Fairview Park in remembrance of those who gave their lives fighting for our freedom. They also honored 80 local vets and prayed for those still fighting overseas.
Finally, we saw Veterans Day through the eyes of our future generations. Students at Fairview Elementary in Sherman learned what it means to be a veteran. While many of the children have relatives who are in the military, school officials thought Tuesday was the perfect day to teach these youngsters the history of Veterans Day. The students also recited the Pledge of Allegiance and had a moment of silence.
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Origins of Veterans Day
- In 1921, an unknown World War I American soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. This site, on a hillside overlooking the Potomac River and the city of Washington, became the focal point of reverence for America's veterans.
- Similar ceremonies occurred earlier in England and France, where an unknown soldier was buried in each nation's highest place of honor (in England, Westminster Abbey; in France, the Arc de Triomphe).
- These memorial gestures all took place on Nov. 11, giving universal recognition to the celebrated ending of World War I fighting at 11 a.m., Nov. 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month).
- The day became known as "Armistice Day.” Armistice Day officially received its name in America in 1926 through a Congressional resolution.
- It became a national holiday 12 years later by similar Congressional action. If the idealistic hope had been realized that World War I was "the War to end all Wars," November 11 might still be called Armistice Day. But, only a few years after the holiday was proclaimed, war broke out in Europe.
- Sixteen and one-half million Americans took part. Four hundred seven thousand of them died in service, more than 292,000 in battle.
- Realizing that peace was equally preserved by veterans of WW II and Korea, Congress was requested to make this day an occasion to honor those who have served America in all wars. In 1954, President Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming Nov. 11 as Veterans Day.
- The focal point for official, national ceremonies for Veterans Day continues to be the memorial amphitheater built around the Tomb of the Unknowns. At 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, a combined color guard representing all military services executes "Present Arms" at the tomb.
- The nation's tribute to its war dead is symbolized by the laying of a presidential wreath. The bugler plays "taps." The rest of the ceremony takes place in the amphitheater.
Source: www.vfw.org contributed to this report.