SANATOGA PA – Pennsylvania, home to the fifth-largest group of military service veterans in the U.S., joins the rest of the nation today (Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2008) in observing Veterans’ Day. Across the commonwealth there will be parades, words of thanks and praise to the living, and grave-marking ceremonies for the dead.
Sanatoga’s Pottsgrove American Legion Post 244 paid its tributes in advance. On Saturday (Nov. 8, 2008) its members worked with the Joint Veterans’ Council to conduct the area’s 25th annual Veterans’ Day Dinner at Friendship Firehouse in Royersford, and on Sunday (Nov. 9, 2008) it participated in a veterans’ ceremony at St. Aloysius New Cemetery, Buchert Road.
The 55th annual National Veterans Day Observance will be held this morning at 11 at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Locally, a simultaneous council ceremony will be held in Memorial Park, Pottstown PA.
Teachers in several Pottsgrove School District classrooms were reported to be commemorating the day with activities for students.
Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation in 1954 to change the name to Veterans Day, as a way to honor those who served in all American wars.
There were 23.6 million military veterans living in the United States during 2007, according to the federal Census Bureau. Of them, 1.1 million or almost 5 percent live in Pennsylvania. Only California (2.1 million), Florida (1.7 million), Texas (1.7 million), and New York (1.1 million) have more resident veterans.