With Gratitude on Veterans Day ~

vetsWhat is Veterans Day? Veterans Day is an official United States holiday. It is a day set aside to honor and thank all veterans for their military service. This honors all who served honorably in the military in wartime or peacetime.

The Department of Veterans Affairs goes on to state that Veterans Day “is largely intended to thank living veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served not only those who died, have sacrificed and done their duty.”

Veterans Day goes back nearly 100 years. Beginning with an armistice on November 11, 1918, between the Germans and the Allies during WW1. Thus, Armistice Day was born. President Woodrow Wilson commemorated November 11th as Armistice Day in 1919. In 1926 a resolution was passed by Congress that November 11th was to be remembered “…with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations.” Until 1978 Veterans Day was observed as the fourth Monday in October. President Gerald Ford signed a bill in 1975 which pushed Veterans Day back to November 11. The change took place in 1978.

Veterans Day is observed across the country with many different events. Special programs and honor ceremonies, parades, wreath laying ceremonies along with many private businesses offering special value promotions for veterans and their families.

Copperfield Hill wants to take the time to highlight a resident veteran. Wally served his country in World War II. Just 17 years old, Wally was a freshman in college in Missouri when the United States entered the Second World War. Listening to the calls of recruiters, Wally joined the Army. Wally left college and returned to Minnesota to enlist. He enlisted in Chaska, MN in 1942 and was sworn in at Ft. Snelling.

Wally was transferred and received his training at Camp Adair in northern Oregon. Wally says he feels very fortunate for his training. Having been trained with a unit of soldiers who then traveled to Europe together, the group welcomed their comradery and mutual concern for one another. Recalling plenty of people being sent to the war prematurely, Wally was grateful to have had the extensive group experience. He also felt fortunate to have grown up in the rural Midwest. He had grown up around guns, unlike many of the city kids who joined the Army. Wally recalls being 8 years old when he first had a gun. This early experience served Wally well, as he eventually found his place as a Gunnery Sargent.

Wally was a member for the 884 Field Artillery, 70th Infantry Division. When he arrived in Europe, he was dropped off in southern France. His division then headed north and met up to join General Patton and his 3rd Army. Wally remembers heading to the Siegfried Line on Germany’s western border and taking Saarbrucken.

Wally, thank you. We are grateful for all your service to our country.