Veterans Day is November 11th and what better way to honor our veterans than to listen to their stories? In this powerful interview with World War II veteran Frank Devita, he talks about his experiences on D-Day and how his service impacted his life. Because his job was to operate the ramp on his boat, some of the scenes he describes are very intense and difficult to listen to. It took many years for Mr. Devita to feel comfortable talking about his war experiences and he credits reporter Tom Brokaw for helping him get there.
While Veterans Day is always a time for us to honor those who have served in wars, this November 11th is especially notable because it also marks the 100th anniversary since the end of World War I. Instead of posting an interview with a World War II veteran, we wanted to share a superb interview posted by YouTube user ly776 that was recorded in the 1980s. Lester Hillegas served in the U.S. Navy during World War I and died in 1989.
To all of our veterans, we want to extend our sincerest appreciations for your military service.
Little is known about the Japanese Americans who served during World War II and we realized we hadn’t shared any videos of these veterans talking about their experiences. This YouTube video, posted by Heather Wokusch, is a 2012 interview with Kazuo “Fred” Yamaguchi, who served in the U.S. Military Intelligence Service.
We also want to take a moment to recognize everyone who has served in the armed forces over the years. To those veterans, thank you for your service.
Across the globe, today is a day to recognize those who have served in the military. We don’t always look at this day from the other side though. How do the veterans feel when they are thanked for their service? What about when we call them heroes? David Botti of BBC News took a closer look at the relationship between American veterans and civilians in a short, thought-provoking documentary.
The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 marked the official end of hostilities between Germany and the Allies. This was, as you know, supposed to be the “war to end all wars.” With that sentiment still fresh in the minds of everyone a year later, President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11th as Armistice Day by saying, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”
Unfortunately, the peace didn’t last and the world was back at war approximately 20 years later. The US would be involved in yet another war, the Korean War, in the 1950s. These two wars brought about the feeling that Armistice Day should honor all the veterans, not just those from WWI. With that, Armistice Day was officially changed to Veterans Day in 1954.
In 1968, a law was passed to changed the day of observance from November 11th to the fourth Monday in October. This was to go into effect in 1971. Not every state was thrilled with the change and many of the states slowly moved the observance of Veterans Day back to November. A new law was passed in 1975 that officially moved Veterans Day back to November 11th, with the law going into effect in 1978.
Over the years, thousands of men and women have served in the military. Here at IHRA, we share the stories of handfuls of men who served in WWII. We have read and written about their experiences in combat and through that, we have developed a better understanding of what they gave up to fight for their country. We want to extend our thanks to all the veterans out there. Thank you for your service.
“The soldier above all other people prays for peace, for he/she must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.” –Gen. Douglas MacArthur