Plans are taking shape for Veterans Day events
Sometimes, saying "thank you" seems like it's hardly enough.
That is especially true when it comes to thanking the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Those who have put their personal lives on hold to go and defend a country. Those who fight for freedom, who put themselves in harm's way to fight terrorists half a world away so Americans can enjoy safety. But then they come home, and they continue to give of themselves.
In a way, saying thank you isn't all Veterans Day is about. Dakota County director of veterans services Mike Labovitch says the holiday is a chance to step back and honor the men and women who have made their country a priority.
Originally, Labovitch said, Nov. 11 was selected as a day of honor because it commemorated armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany. The armistice was to go into effect at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1919 -- or, Nov. 11, 1919. After World War II, though, the honorees were expanded to include all veterans, not just those of the first World War. In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower proclaimed Nov. 11 Veterans Day.
The observation of Veterans Day takes many forms from community to community. In Farmington, a breakfast and program is scheduled at the Farmington American Legion. Labovitch will be the featured speaker.
Also on Veterans Day, two showings of "Iraq and Back: Minnesotan's Stories," a documentary made for Minnesota's public television station, are planned. The documentary follows five Minnesotans and their families through the course of a military deployment. At least one of the soldiers featured was part of the Red Bull detachment from the Rosemount Armory.
The local Veterans Day program and the documentary showing are all sponsored by veterans service organizations in the community. The American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars are pairing to offer the breakfast and program, while Warrior to Citizen is coordinating the documentary showings.
Thanking the veterans who participate in those organizations is an important part of the Veterans Day observance.
"On Veterans Day, we honor the people who came home and continued to serve their country by serving their communities in all kinds of capacities, whether it be marching in parades, teaching in the schools or volunteering as Boy Scout leaders or in their churches," Labovitch said.
It's always important to remember the men and women who have lost their lives while serving their country. That's kind of the focus of the Memorial Day observation, Labovitch said. Veterans Day, though, is a day to thank and honor those who are still alive, and who are still giving of themselves.
"The greatest lesson I learned about veterans when I got home was ... it is our job to honor those we lost by serving the living. We come back and serve the community in honor of those who can't."
The Farmington Veterans Day breakfast begins with a buffet-style breakfast at 9 a.m. The meal is free for all veterans and a nominal fee will be charged for guests. The breakfast goes through 10 a.m., when the program begins. For more information, call the American Legion, 651-460-9909.
"Iraq and Back: Minnesotan's Stories" will be shown at 10 a.m. and again at 11:15 a.m., at the River Church in downtown Farmington. The showings are free, and open to the public. For more information, call Annette Kuyper, 651-460-2248, or visit www.farmingtonw2c.org.