Sunday was the official celebration of Veterans Day and many employers, including the State of Missouri, will extend that celebration by observing the holiday on Monday, Nov. 12, closing offices and allowing employees time to honor those who have served their country.
First instituted as Armistice Day by President Woodrow Wilson for Nov. 11, 1919, the holiday was expanded several times, the last one in 1954, to reach its current designation honoring all veterans of all wars.
As a combat veteran and current member of the Missouri National Guard, I know firsthand the value of Veterans Day. I have both seen and felt the pride associated with being honored by the citizens of the United States. I have stood at ceremonies at first light, recited the Pledge of Allegiance with hundreds of Missourians, and watched as our WWII veterans soaked in the love of a simple handshake from a boy too young to remember those sacrifices.
In times of war and turbulence, our military is our strength, both physically and spiritually. We rely on them for our protection and our peace of mind. But our military serves in times of peace as well. For the last week, I have participated in drills to prepare for a potential natural disaster. The men and women who make up the Missouri National Guard, your family, friends, and neighbors, deserve to be honored as well, because they, too, give us strength.
Last year, our last World War I veteran, Frank Buckles, passed away. He was the last human reminder of one of our greatest battles. In less than two years, we will be recognizing the 100th anniversary of the start of that war. Those of us who live in the Kansas City area, and really all Missourians, are blessed to have the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, the only American museum solely dedicated to objects and history from World War I. I encourage you and your family to visit the memorial soon.