Two important days for all Americans will be upon us shortly. These are Election Day on Tuesday, November 8 and Veterans Day on Friday, November 11. On Election Day, we can express our gratitude for the freedom and privilege we have to cast our vote; and on Veterans Day we honor those who fought to ensure our right to vote.
Our veterans, and those who currently are serving, have made many sacrifices for our country and for all of us. It’s an honor to be able to pay tribute to them for their service. Veterans Day, originally called Armistice Day, was first proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson to be celebrated on November 11, 1919.
Armistice Day commemorated the signing of the Armistice that had ended World War I a year earlier. The day was set aside to honor the veterans of World War I with a day of parades and remembrances. A Congressional Act approved on May 13, 1938, made November 11 a legal holiday.
The 1938 Congressional Act stated that Armistice Day was a day “to be dedicated to the cause of world peace.” It was not until 1954 that the word ‘Armistice’ was replaced by ‘Veterans’ as a way to recognize all veterans, not just those who had served in World War I. President Dwight Eisenhower signed the law which changed the name to Veterans Day.
Because Veterans Day is a federal holiday, some workers and students have the day off from work or school. Election Day and Veterans Day fall within the same week this year—Tuesday and Friday—and our offices will be closed both of those days. In Fort Wayne, a Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony will be held starting at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum at 11:00 AM on Saturday, November 5. It’s a community celebration, and Trustee Knox encourages everyone to attend as a way to say thank you to the veterans and military personnel who serve to maintain the freedoms of our country.
One of the freedoms we often take for granted is our right to vote. Election Day this year falls on November 8, and it is an important election. We will be electing a congressman for the next two years, and several local elections including all of the township officials, trustees, assessors and board members for the next four years.
I often hear people making excuses for not voting such as “my vote doesn’t matter,” “I’m too busy” or “I don’t know anything about the candidates.” Your vote does matter. Elections have been won or lost by one vote or just a few votes.
The polls will be open Election Day from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can easily find your precinct location by logging on to www.indianavoters.com and then clicking on “Find Your Polling Place.” You also can call the Election Board at 449-7329 or the Republican or Democratic Parties.
There was a time in this country when African Americans, women and adults age 18 to 21 could not vote. Many Americans worked hard to win the right to vote for these groups, while others put their lives on the line in foreign lands to make sure all of us can vote. Because of this many, people see voting as not just a privilege but as a duty to carry out and as a way to honor those who put up the good fight to win the right for so many of us to vote.