Monday, November 10, 2014

Honoring America’s Veterans

By Joann M. Ringelstetter

Tuesday, November 11th is Veterans Day, a day when our minds and hearts turn to those who have served our country in ways we can never repay.

As we travel around Wisconsin and other states, in addition to visiting veterans’ cemeteries and regular cemeteries with veterans’ graves, we also keep a lookout for veterans’ memorials.

Veterans Day has its roots in an armistice, or cease-fire, between the Allied nations and Germany that was declared during World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. This was considered the end of World War I.

Beginning the following year, November 11th was celebrated as Armistice Day, and it became a national holiday in the United States in 1938. In 1954, after the end of World War II and the Korean War, President Eisenhower proclaimed November 11th Veterans Day, and asked Americans to focus on peace rather than war.

This year, at the end of September, we stumbled on an interesting Veterans Memorial in Monona, Iowa, that consists of statues that honor all the branches of the military.

On a trip to Ohio in 2013, we found a beautiful stone memorial dedicated to World War II and Vietnam Veterans.

The next day, we drove past an interesting roadside flag mural honoring all the branches of the military.

One of our favorite memorials, in one of our favorite Wisconsin counties, is the American Legion Veterans Memorial Flag Park in Richland Center. It’s a very moving experience when all the flags are billowing in the wind.

Finally, two days ago, on the way to visit some dear friends in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, I stopped at a small wayside to stretch my legs. On a rock was mounted a small plaque that said, “The citizens of the township of Elba purchased this land in 1947 as a memorial to the men and women who served their country in World War II." This wayside is located on the banks of the Crawfish River, which was filled with geese that day.

Memorials to the men and women who have selflessly given their time and, often, their lives for our freedom and safety come in many forms. Please be sure to remember these brave individuals, not only on November 11th, but every day and to cherish this great country of ours.

Happy Shunpiking!