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2021 Veterans Day Oberservance Downtown

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Hopkins County Marine Corps League along with the Military Coaltion and veterans took part in a Veterans Day service Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021, on the downtown plaza.

Veterans Day observance in downtown Sulphur Springs Nov. 11, 2021

History of Veterans Day

Veterans Day commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies and Germany for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at 11 a.m., the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11 a.m. The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926. The Senate called on the President of the United States to issue a proclamation calling on the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

An act approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be celebrated and known as “Armistice Day,” a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I.

In 1954, after American forces fought in World War II and in Korea, veterans service organizations urged congrest to amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” ith the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars. On October 8, 1854, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first “Veterans Day Proclamation” designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee to coordinate national planning for the observance. The proclamation also called for heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive Branch of the Government to assist the National Committee.

The Uniform Holiday Bill signed on June 28, 1968, to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees provided four national holidays on Mondays: Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971, and disapproval from many.

On September 20, 1975, supported by an overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 returning the annual Veterans Day to its original date of Nov. 11, beginning in 1978.

Veterans Day continues to be observed on Nov. 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls, preserving not only the historical significance of the date and focusing attention on the purpose of Veterans Day: a celebration honoring America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

Sulphur Springs Observance

The Nov. 11, 2021, Veterans Day observance in downtown Sulphur Springs began with an invocation. County Judge Robert Newsom offered a prayer for those who serve America, and gratitude for the blessings enjoyed in the city, county and across the country.

HCMCL Judge Advocate Bob Kerr welcomed all to the observance and introduced Capt. E. Ridley Briggs, who recounted a soldier killed in service, and described the impact of seeing a flag folded into a precise triangle and presented to his mother, who kept it in a prominent place in her home. Briggs said while he can’t say exactly what the soldier’s thoughts were regarding that flag, OId Glory is special to him.

He takes the Pledge of Allegiance to the USA flag very seriously. He explained, breaking down each part, what the Pledge of Allegiance means to him him. It’s is a sacred vow taken, a promise to love and legal duty to serve the flag and all she represents. He said he loves the flag, which stands for freedom around the world and appreciation for those who died to keep her flying in wars around the world and those united with a common goal to serve, fight and defend her and this nation to the death. As a republic power flows from the people to the individuals elected to serve, not from the elected to the people. As a nation, we stand united together for liberty and justice for all people.

Briggs then lead the veterans and community members gathered around the flag in the town square in the Pledge of Allegiance to the USA flag.

Hopkins County Military Coalition performed a 3-round volley in honor of deceased veterans. The US and service flags were lowered and Taps played as well.

Melissa Harris and Sarge were introduced as honorary members of HCMCL. They attend occassions such as the Veterans Day service held in memory of those lost while serving, as appropriate. The riderless horse contains a pair of boots turned backwards, symbolizing those lost while serving. The boots placed backward in Sarge’s stirrups represent one last look at family and troops a service member lost in battle is leaving behind.

Harris said she hopes that when someone sees Sarge with empty saddle and backward boots they’ll remember someone’s loved one is never coming home from battle.

Kerr closed the service by reading the 2021 Presidential Proclamation declaring November as National Veterans and Military Families Month.

2021 Veterans Day Observance on the square in Sulphur Springs
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Author: Faith Huffman

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