Veterans Day Honors Past Soldiers

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Starting out as a soldier, Assistant Principal Mr. Leonard Cousins did not truly understand what it meant to be a soldier and only viewed it as his job. As his time in the Army grew, so did his love and pride for what he was doing. The more training he got and the older he became, the more he understood, and when he learned tactical skills, the more he realized just how important his role was.

“Being a part of the military, you begin to understand that there is a greater purpose for you doing what you are doing,” Mr. Cousins said.

First known as Armistice Day in the 1920s, Veterans Day was meant to celebrate the end of World War I and honor the unknown soldiers who died. France, Europe and the United States each buried one soldier at a location with high honor and decided to honor soldiers on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month the same time and day that World War I ended. On Nov. 11, 1947, World War II Veteran Raymond Weeks’ dreams of creating a holiday for all veterans came to life. In Alabama, a parade was held on behalf of all veterans past and present. President Eisenhower passed the bill making November 11th Veterans day officially.

“I think Veterans Day is a day that we say thank you to those men and women who serve,” Mr. Cousins said.

For families, the day brings happiness because their loved ones are still around, for other families it brings sadness because their loved ones didn’t make it home. For some soldiers like  Mr. Cousins, they use the day to reflect on the things that they accomplished and thinking about the great men and women who served alongside him. Mr. Cousins served and feels that Veterans Day should represent a day of thanks to society.

“It doesn’t matter how long they served the fact is that they served,” Cousins said.

On Nov. 11, each state hosts different parades and ceremonies in order to honor our soldiers. In Washington D.C. at the Arlington National Cemetery, soldiers at 11 a.m. hold a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. The ceremony consists of a wreath laying at the tomb followed by a ceremony where the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” will have a concert in the amphitheater adjacent to the tomb. In Birmingham, Alabama, the town continues to have the same parade and ceremony from when Mr. Weeks first established the holiday. The day will start with the Veterans Memorial service and the parade will start at 1:30 p.m. In Fort Worth, a parade will be held that starts at 10:30 a.m. This year, the parade will be honoring the Blue and Gold Star veterans families.

“As we reflect on Veterans day and we reflect on our freedoms we need to be grateful and thankful for what the men and women have done for us,” Mr. Cousins said.