The History of Veteran’s Day on This Week’s State of Greater Western New York Report – November 11, 2021

Have you ever stopped to wonder why all those Veterans Day parades start at 11 o’clock in the morning? There’s a very real reason for that, and it’s deeper than you might expect. Learn about that and a few other interesting tidbits surrounding Veterans Days on today’s State of Greater Western New York Report,

In the first half of the show, we talk about the history of warfare dating back to ancient Greece and Rome.  From Thermopylae to Carthage, the mythology of the romanticism of war evolved over time. It shifted from honoring the emperor to honoring God by the medieval days with the coming of the Crusades, before, returning to an aura of nationalism. Still, fighting at close quarters meant acting under the Chivalric Code. War was horrific, but, ironically, gentlemanly. With the notable exception of the American Revolution, this romantic myth remained unbroken in Europe and even carried itself to the very beginning of the Civil War (although that ended quickly). In a similar fashion, “The War to End All Wars” because with enthusiasm that soon became despair. When “The Great War” ended with an armistice that took effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the world rejoiced. But it was yet to be proclaimed “Armistice Day” in an official sense.

In the second half of the show, we explore how Armistice Day came about starting (informally) with an ailing Woodrow Wilson and (more formally) with Calvin Coolidge. The holiday didn’t become official until Franklin Roosevelt’s term. But it still wasn’t “Veterans Day.” That didn’t happen until Dwight Eisenhower’s term when a last-minute change substituted the word “Veteran” for “Armistice” to broaden those being honored to include all veterans, not just those who served in what was now known as World War I. Finally, we discuss the brief movement of the holiday to a different day in the early 1970s.

Our host happily answered questions from the live audience. In fact, these are probably some of the same questions you had. Would you like to be a member of our live audience so you can ask our guests questions? Click here to join the growing number of members who share your feelings on StateOf.GreaterWesternNewYork.com because then we can automatically send you the link to watch our shows live.

Theme music by mansardian courtesy of FreeSound.org under Creative Commons License Attribution 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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