Celebrating WV VeteransBy David Finley | November 1st, 2012 | Category: Lead Story | No Comments »
“The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who have fought here have thus far so nobly advanced…” Abraham Lincoln – from the Gettysburg Address, 1863.
As a great nation, America has honored, respected and helped to provide certain benefits for its veterans, realizing that had it not been for their sacrifices the nation itself would cease to exist. Coming up on November 11, Veterans Day is the time to honor all U.S. military veterans.
Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was first enacted on November 11, 1919 to honor the fallen soldiers of World War One. In 1945, after the Second World War, veteran Raymond Weeks had the idea to expand Armistice Day to include all veterans, not just those who died in WWI. He led a delegation of veterans to General Eisenhower, who also supported the idea of a National Veterans Day. Two years later, Weeks led the first national celebration from his home state of Alabama, a tradition he continued till his death in 1985. On June 1, 1954, Congress amended the title, replacing Armistice with Veterans in recognition of veterans from all military branches, regardless of when they served.
The State of West Virginia has always been a leading source of men and women who serve the nation in our armed forces. West Virginia sends more of its citizens per capita to serve in the military than any other state in the Union. “West Virginia is one of the most patriotic states in the country,” says Senator Joe Manchin, “and we are proud of the number of veterans and active duty members that have served in our military and served honorably and proudly.”
Many West Virginians have spent time in the military themselves, while many more are the grandchildren, or sons and daughters of veterans. From these first hand sources, we learn of the trials and hardships they endured, the joys and sorrows of returning home, and the complications of rejoining society. Many veterans are plagued by their war experiences, leading to nightmares, post-traumatic stress, and some difficulty in getting and retaining employment.
We, as a nation, need to honor and help our veterans as much as possible, for if it wasn’t for their sacrifices, most of the world would not have the freedoms we now enjoy. Take the time to listen to their stories for they have lessons we can all use. Offer assistance to those vets returning, because they have seen and done things so that the rest of society doesn’t have to. While some veterans may be gone, none need to be forgotten.
On the week of November 5-9, we will be honoring our veterans at GSC. Monday will bring the grand opening of the Veterans Legacy Project photo exhibit. This exhibit was created by GSC in celebration of our WV vets. This show continues for the entire week, and should be informative as well as a way for veterans to recount their stories for the general public to understand.
Thursday night at 7, a Veterans Theater Project will be held in the Fine Arts building. If you miss this showing of the collection of stories and pictures of WV veterans there will be an encore performance held Friday night also in the Fine Arts Building at 7. Come out to see and hear first-hand the accounts of these brave individuals and the sacrifices they have made.