November 11,1918 marked the end of the war to end all wars or WWI. Alas, as we know all too well, that was not to be. Truth be told, it had no chance to achieve that goal. Wars have continued and continue; in all sizes and for a multitude of reasons. The day we call Veterans Day remembers those who served, those who returned,those who didn’t and honors those who serve now. We know all too well about those in Iraq and Afghanistan but also South Korea, on ships around the world, in numerous other countries and on bases here at home like Ft Benning and particularly Ft Hood.
The day originated as Armistice Day on November 11,1919, the first anniversary of WWI’s conclusion, at the urging of Pres Woodrow Wilson. It did not become a national holiday, however,until 1938. The name changed to Veterans Day until 1954 when President Eisenhower signed legislation to honor those who had served in any and all wars. Appropriately so, since he was the Supreme Allied Commander in WWII.
We have around 24 million living veterans, about 10% of whom are women and slightly over 10% are African-American. Some the more interesting facts I discovered was that about 40% of of our living vets are over 65 but only 10% of our living vets are from WWII. That is a number that is rapidly declining. Numbers also indicate that about 1/3 of veterans live in just 5 states; California, Texas, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania. I know numbers can be mind numbing but just a couple more. The number of living veterans comprises roughly 1/2 of the veterans that served in wartime since Revolutionary War days .
So, today, we salute them all (the approximately 1.5 million on active duty) those who have served and remain and in particular those who are gone.
… unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you:and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. The King James Version, Leviticus 25:10. And the first part is inscribed on our Liberty Bell itself, although it wasn’t even called that at first.
The bell is for certain one of our country’s iconic symbols and is one of the few that I have been privileged to see up close and personal. This was a picture I took while on a Habitat for Humanity trip with our church(First Baptist -Eden NC). The young ladies , whose names I forget ,were part of our group that spent a week working in the city of Brotherly Love. I had originally intended just a single post about the bell, but I really liked the look of the enlarged picture, ergo, we shall have a couple days on the bell as we prepare for Independence Day and our country’s 233rd birthday. One small tidbit among many that intrigued me. A gentleman named Isaac Norris, Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly, commissioned the Assembly’s agent in London, Robert Charles, to buy a bell. Mr Norris was also the person who chose the scripture that is inscribed thereon. Interestingly, it comes from an Old Testament book that is probably somewhat obscure to many churchgoers today.
Tomorrow, who made the bell, where has it traveled, when did it crack and when and for whom it was last rung.
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