Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Robert D. Beal, Sr.

The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:
Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and 
Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and 
Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

Despite the proclamation, and due to circumstances beyond my control, World War Two took place. As a result, a young man from Fredericktown, Ohio was uprooted and sent to Camp McCain in Duck Hill, Mississippi. While there he met a young woman from Winona, Mississippi. They got married.

After the war, they did what was quite popular at the time. They were fruitful and multiplied their number by three sons - all of whom clung tenaciously to their mother's womb for ten months before resigning themselves to the inevitable.

And so it is I am: a month late, the outcome of a big war and a little whoopee.

Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

Dad returned from Europe with a few souvenirs: a Luger pistol, a couple of German military daggers, a Nazi party lapel pin, among other things. His uniform was stored in Mom's cedar chest along with a pair of Lederhosen. I wore his combat boots for while when they fit.

He was in his seventies before a few stories broke loose. The ship over to Europe. An officer he knew. The family he was billeted with in Germany. One of my brothers is named for an officer he must have liked. He tells us that in the late forties my mother and he drove over to Indiana from Ohio - long before the interstate - to visit a buddy from his unit and the partner with whom he lived.

Now in his nineties, Dad never laughs so hard as when he tells the tale of an officer who flipped a Jeep. To be honest, I'm not sure why he finds it as funny as he does, but I enjoy the laughter.


If you have a friend or relative who served in WWII, you can honor that service at the WWII Memorial Registry here.

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