Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Peachtree City Celebrates Veterans Day on Saturday, November 13

Peachtree City’s 2010 Veterans Day remembrance will highlight the Korean War in observance of the 60th anniversary of the start of that war, which was the first major conflict of the Cold War.

This year’s event will be held on Saturday, November 13 starting at 10 a.m. It will be hosted by the Commemorative Air Force in their spacious hanger at Falcon Field and will be conducted by local VFW, American Legion and Marine Corps League veteran groups and the City Recreation Department. The event will include honors to the flag, taps will be played in honor of all veterans who have died, a guest speaker will be featured and a commemorative wreath will be presented by local veterans groups.

Light refreshments will be available. Call the PTC Recreation Department at 770-631-2542 for more information.

The Korean War, sometimes referred to as the “Forgotten War,” began in June 1950 and ended in an armistice in July 1953. The U.S. Congress never issued a Declaration of War, officially calling it a “police action.” The reasons for the U.S. becoming involved are shrouded in the fog of the newly developing “Cold War” between world superpowers from the east and west.

The Cold War started after WWII generally spanning from 1947 to 1991. On opposing sides were the Soviet Union and its proxy states and the Western world led by the United States. The Cold War ended in 1991 when the Soviet Union disbanded.

In historical terms, the Korean War was sandwiched between two high-profile engagements; World War II and Vietnam, further relegating it inappropriately to a less prolific role in U.S. history. However, in terms of human sacrifice, it was by no measure minor. By war’s end, 36,516 Americans were killed (including 2,830 non-combat deaths), 92,134 wounded, 8,176 MIA (missing in action) and 7,245 POWs (prisoners of war). In total, 15 western nations suffered nearly 800,000 in those categories and the three eastern block nations sustained between one million and 1.5 million.

Veterans Day in the U.S. is an opportunity to publicly commemorate the contributions of living veterans and remember the sacrifices of those who have died. Originally called Armistice Day, it 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 World War I had been "the war to end all wars," November 11 might be still called Armistice Day. Realizing that peace was equally preserved by veterans of World War II and Korea, Congress decided to make the day an occasion to honor all those who have served America. In 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day. (Historically, the first Veterans Day parade was held in 1953 in Emporia, Kansas.)

A law passed in 1968 changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans. Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date.

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