Celebrating veterans and freedom

Beth Sergent

November 12, 2013

POINT PLEASANT — On Saturday, people in Point Pleasant celebrated freedom, but most of all, they celebrated the veterans who made that freedom possible.

Since 2006, the AMVETS Post #2 and ladies auxiliary has sponsored events near Veterans Day to honor those service men and women who defend, and have defended, America and its way of life.

This year, the AMVETS Post #2 hosted “Celebration of Freedom” which included a parade down Main Street and a gathering at Riverfront Park. At the park, the ladies auxiliary once again prepared a large, free meal for anyone who wanted to attend and despite a windy, cool day, there were plenty of people who were happy to share fellowship and food along the Ohio River.

Those who visited the celebration also received free gift bags from the post and a representative from the Veterans Administration also handed out free items and provided information for veterans.

Dennis Rayburn of the AMVETS Post #2 also spoke to those gathered under the shelter, bringing attention to Vietnam Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and are now experiencing adverse health effects. To bring further attention to this issue, the ladies auxiliary released orange balloons from the shelter during the celebration.

Though the AMVETS celebration was on Saturday, Veterans Day was Monday, Nov. 11. Despite the familiar holiday arriving in November, many don’t know the actual history behind Veterans Day. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs reminds all that in November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.

World War I, known at the time as “The Great War”, officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, Nov. 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

Wars certainly didn’t end on Armistice Day, renamed Veterans Day by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and veterans continue to be needed and honored, not just on Nov. 11 but everyday.