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Arkansas Living November 2010 : Page 3

A big thanks to our veterans November is the month we give thanks for all we have and also honor the veterans who have served our country in the various branches of the military. We think it is fitting that these two holidays take place in the same month because they really do go hand and hand. If not for our veterans, we might not have much to be thankful for – we most certainly wouldn’t have this wonderful nation and all the freedoms it provides. In this issue of Rural Arkansas we are featuring War Memorial Stadium, a state landmark that was built to honor veterans. Now best known as the site of Razorback games and lively tailgating parties, it is easy to forget that the stadium was built in 1948 to honor veterans of World Wars I and II. The stadium has renewed that emphasis on veterans with the development of the Sturgis Veterans Plaza and its “Stars and Stripes” sculpture at the corner of Fair Park and Stadium Drive, just outside the stadium. We would also like to take some time to honor and thank our veterans with a bit of history about Veterans Day itself. The holiday traces it roots to November 1919 when President Woodrow Wilson designated Nov. 11 as the day to commemorate the first year anniversary of the armistace, or the end of World War I. The armistice went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. In 1938, Congress made Nov. 11 a legal holiday, which would be known as “Armistace Day.” In 1954, Congress changed the holiday to Veterans Day and designated it as a day to honor veterans of both world wars. The holiday remained on Nov. 11 until 1968 when the Uniform Holiday bill was signed into law. That law was designed to provide for three-day weekends for federal employees. The holidays effected were Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Columbus Day. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website said the change was expected to “encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production.” Not all states agreed with the change, however, and many continued to celebrate Veterans Day on Nov. 11. The Veterans Affairs Department said the first Veterans Day after the change was celebrated on Oct. 25, 1971, but created a great deal of confusion. Because of the continuing confusion, President Gerald R. Ford approved a new law in 1975 to go back to observing Veterans Day on Nov. 11, starting in 1978. “This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people,” the Veterans Affairs website said. Since that time, the holiday has been celebrated on Nov. 11, the day that the first world war came to an end 92 years ago. Sadly, lessons from that debacle didn’t prevent the start of an Now best known as the site of Razorback games and lively tailgating parties, it is easy to forget that the stadium was built in 1948 to honor veterans of World Wars I and II. even bigger one, World War II, a mere 22 years later. Here’s hoping there will never be another war of those magnitudes and that the ones being fought now by our brave men and women will soon come to an end. In the meantime, there’s no better time than now to say thanks to them for protecting the freedoms for which so many have given their lives throughout our history. NOVEMBER 2010 3 comments

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November is the month we give thanks for all we have and also honor the veterans who have served our country in the various branches of the military. We think it is fitting that these two holidays take place in the same month because they really do go hand and hand. If not for our veterans, we might not have much to be thankful for – we most certainly wouldn’t have this wonderful nation and all the freedoms it provides.<br /> <br /> In this issue of Rural Arkansas we are featuring War Memorial Stadium, a state landmark that was built to honor veterans. Now best known as the site of Razorback games and lively tailgating parties, it is easy to forget that the stadium was built in 1948 to honor veterans of World Wars I and II. The stadium has renewed that emphasis on veterans with the development of the Sturgis Veterans Plaza and its “Stars and Stripes” sculpture at the corner of Fair Park and Stadium Drive, just outside the stadium.<br /> <br /> We would also like to take some time to honor and thank our veterans with a bit of history about Veterans Day itself. The holiday traces it roots to November 1919 when President Woodrow Wilson designated Nov. 11 as the day to commemorate the first year anniversary of the armistace, or the end of World War I. The armistice went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.<br /> <br /> In 1938, Congress made Nov. 11 a legal holiday, which would be known as “Armistace Day.” In 1954, Congress changed the holiday to Veterans Day and designated it as a day to honor veterans of both world wars. The holiday remained on Nov. 11 until 1968 when the Uniform Holiday bill was signed into law. That law was designed to provide for three-day weekends for federal employees. The holidays effected were Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Columbus Day. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website said the change was expected to “encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production.” Not all states agreed with the change, however, and many continued to celebrate Veterans Day on Nov. 11.<br /> <br /> The Veterans Affairs Department said the first Veterans Day after the change was celebrated on Oct. 25, 1971, but created a great deal of confusion.<br /> Because of the continuing confusion, President Gerald R. Ford approved a new law in 1975 to go back to observing Veterans Day on Nov. 11, starting in 1978.<br /> <br /> “This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people,” the Veterans Affairs website said.<br /> <br /> Since that time, the holiday has been celebrated on Nov. 11, the day that the first world war came to an end 92 years ago. Sadly, lessons from that debacle didn’t prevent the start of an even bigger one, World War II, a mere 22 years later. Here’s hoping there will never be another war of those magnitudes and that the ones being fought now by our brave men and women will soon come to an end. In the meantime, there’s no better time than now to say thanks to them for protecting the freedoms for which so many have given their lives throughout our history.

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