The Redlands Community News is proud that our town has a Veterans Day parade.
It would be too easy to simply salute veterans. Of course we support those who put their lives on the line to protect our freedom. This is especially true of today’s all-volunteer armed forces, who join because they believe in the cause — not because they were conscripted.
Monday was the 100th Nov. 11 parade in New York City, the largest in the nation. It was the seventh Veterans Day Parade in Redlands, well-attended and stirring to watch.
Every schoolchild knows the story (or should): The armistice to end World War I was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.
The war officially ended on July 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. But in 1926, Congress declared Nov. 11 the end of hostilities. Armistice Day became national holiday in 1938, primarily to honor those who fought in World War I.
After World War II and the Korean War, Congress voted on June 1, 1954, to change the name to Veterans Day in honor of all American veterans.
It is somewhat of a blessing that this year’s Veterans Day fell on Monday, Nov. 11, the traditional date and a convenient three-day weekend. In 1968, Congress approved the Uniform Holiday Act to move federal holidays to Mondays in hopes of stimulating the economy with three-day weekends.
Inexplicably, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday in October. In 1975, President Gerald Ford signed law moving back to the traditional date. Fortunately, Congress had the good sense to leave the Fourth of July alone.
Of course, Veterans Day should not be confused with Memorial Day, a more solemn occasion to honor those who died in war.
Redlands has held Veterans Day ceremonies at Jennie Davis Park for many years, but in 2013 when the city was celebrating its 125th anniversary, then-City Clerk Sam Irwin suggested that a parade be added. The city put Irwin in charge and, it has been a tradition ever since.
We salute Irwin for his idea along with the volunteers and law enforcement personnel who make this parade happen. No matter what day of the week Veterans Day falls on — next year it’s a Wednesday — it is appropriate for Redlands to shut down the boulevard for a few hours to give us all a chance to say thank you for their service.