Veterans Day Ceremony

It was a day of remembering the past.

"It will never leave you, NEVER!" comments Lamar Callahan a World War II Veteran.

"It sort of makes me nervous because it looks like it's never going to end," says Arthur King is a Korean and Vietnam War Veteran.

Like King, for many at the ceremony the "War on Terrorism" is a major concern.

"When you typically think about it," said Captain Jeffrey Dickman, the Commanding Officer at Meridian Naval Air Station, "a third of the Navy, is deployed at all times. Think how many Army and Air Force are overseas, oft times in harsh conditions."

While supporting military personnel now serving, those in attendance agree that much more must be done to help those who served in years past.

"When a veteran applies for anything, it takes a long time to get an answer said Veterans Service Officer Joseph Lemoine. Sometimes it takes four months, five months or even longer in some cases. Either there's not enough people working in administration, not enough doctors, there's something missing somewhere."

"What we need to do is make sure we keep our healthcare clinics, our regional offices, said retired Congressman G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery. We need more veterans fulltime workers to help take care of them."

Meanwhile, although a "War on Terrorism," is unlike conflicts from the past, veterans we spoke with say one thing will never change.

"You cannot take the scared out of people. It's going to be there. I can assure you," said World War II Veteran Earl Callahan.

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Origins of Veterans Day

  • In 1921, an unknown World War I American soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. This site, on a hillside overlooking the Potomac River and the city of Washington, became the focal point of reverence for America's veterans.

  • Similar ceremonies occurred earlier in England and France, where an unknown soldier was buried in each nation's highest place of honor (in England, Westminster Abbey; in France, the Arc de Triomphe).

  • These memorial gestures all took place on Nov. 11, giving universal recognition to the celebrated ending of World War I fighting at 11 a.m., Nov. 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month).

  • The day became known as "Armistice Day." Armistice Day officially received its name in America in 1926 through a Congressional resolution.

  • It became a national holiday 12 years later by similar Congressional action. If the idealistic hope had been realized that World War I was "the War to end all Wars," November 11 might still be called Armistice Day. But, only a few years after the holiday was proclaimed, war broke out in Europe.

  • Sixteen and one-half million Americans took part. Four hundred seven thousand of them died in service, more than 292,000 in battle.

  • Realizing that peace was equally preserved by veterans of WW II and Korea, Congress was requested to make this day an occasion to honor those who have served America in all wars. In 1954, President Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming Nov. 11 as Veterans Day.

  • The focal point for official, national ceremonies for Veterans Day continues to be the memorial amphitheater built around the Tomb of the Unknowns. At 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, a combined color guard representing all military services executes "Present Arms" at the tomb.

  • The nation's tribute to its war dead is symbolized by the laying of a presidential wreath. The bugler plays "taps." The rest of the ceremony takes place in the amphitheater.

Source: contributed to this report.