From the Desk of Mayor Eric H. Jones, Jr.
In the United States, we honor veterans for their heroism and service to the country as members of the U.S. Armed orces. Veterans Day is an official federal holiday in the United States and is observed on November 11 each year. There is a poem that I read which I would like to share—it reads:
It is the Veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the Veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Veteran, who salutes the Flag,
It is the Veteran, who serves under the Flag,
To be buried by the flag, So the protester can burn the flag.
Americans sometimes confuse the intention of Veterans Day with Memorial Day. While Veterans Day is reserved as a day on which to honor the bravery of all U.S. veterans, Memorial Day is a federal holiday on which Americans pay tribute to and remember those who died while in service to their country. Americans observe Memorial Day on the last Monday of each May. To all veterans and personally to VFW POST 8195, which I am a member, HAPPY VETERANS DAY!
This month we also celebrate Thanksgiving, a time of giving thanks for the Creator’s gifts which had always been a part of the Wampanoag daily life. From ancient times, Native People of North America have held ceremonies to give thanks for successful harvests, for the hope of a good growing season in the early spring, and for other good fortune such as the birth of a child. Giving thanks was, and still is, the primary reason for ceremonies or celebrations. In 1621, when their labors were rewarded with a bountiful harvest after a year of sickness and scarcity, the Pilgrims gave thanks to God and celebrated His bounty in the Harvest Home tradition with feasting and sport. To these people of strong Christian faith, this was not merely a revel; it was also a joyous outpouring of gratitude. The arrival of the Pilgrims and Puritans brought new Thanksgiving traditions to the American scene.
Today’s national Thanksgiving celebration is a blend of two traditions: The New England custom of rejoicing after a successful harvest, and the Puritan Thanksgiving, a solemn religious observance combining prayer and feasting. This year let us all give thanks for the many blessing that we enjoy.
God bless America and God bless the City of West Park!