October 20, 2000
In just a few days, on November 11 to be precise, we will once again observe Veterans Day, an occasion which has been designated a federal legal public holiday. Technically speaking, the U. S. has no federal holidays because the President and Congress can legally designate holidays only for the District of Columbia and federal employees. In practice, however, most states observe certain days as federal legal public holidays, and Veterans Day is one of those.
Most of us realize that this holiday began after the first World War to celebrate the end of that great conflict and to pay homage to the men and women in uniform who made the victory possible. When the WWI armistice treaty was signed by the Allied forces and their enemies, the war formally ended at 11 a.m. on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 - November 11. World War II ended in August 1945 with the capitulation of the Japanese empire and the Axis, and the U. S. then included that occasion in the annual observance of Armistice Day. Then came Korea, Vietnam and other conflicts, all of which needed to be remembered, and so they were added to the list. The name was changed from Armistice Day to Veterans Day to honor all Americans who served in uniform during any war.
The Perry American Legion post recently reorganized and its members are hoping to reassert themselves as a service agency for veterans and their families in this area. They are struggling because of the malaise plaguing so many worthy organizations - the apathy of those they are attempting to serve. The lethargy and indifference of prospective members are slowly strangling the organizations. Well, here's something they may want to consider.
Veterans of Company I, 179th regiment, the Noble county national guard unit that served so valiantly in Korea, recently held their annual reunion here. Several men and their families came from distant points to greet some of their military buddies and recall tales of that era. A lot of them were here and of course many former members of Company I make their home in this vicinity. Bob Elliott of Oklahoma City, a 1941 graduate of PHS and a Navy veteran of World War II, read newspaper stories about that reunion and it gave him an idea.
"Why couldn't we have a reunion in Perry for all those who served in the military in World War II and all the other wars,” Bob asks. "There are quite a few of us from WWII still around but our generation is dying out quickly." Bob heads an engineering firm in OKC but maintains an active interest in this community, where he grew up. He believes that if someone in Perry would take the initiative to start the ball rolling, we could have a bang-up reunion for all veterans and that it would be a grand time for all of them.
Veterans Day (nee Armistice Day) would be a logical time for such an event, or perhaps next Memorial Day. Bob says all it would take is someone who would head it up. Maybe the American Legion could think about this either for next month on Veterans Day or next May when we celebrate Memorial Day. Here's hoping that "someone" steps forward soon.