Joseph King still remembers the thunderous roar of five suicide planes crashing into the ship. He was aboard the USS Saratog-CV3 and was serving during World War II. He said that he was not scared until he climbed from the depths of the ship to the main deck. It was then, as he saw the destruction and chaos before him, that the fear began to creep in.
People sometimes listen to soldier’s stories of war in wonder and amazement. For many people, it a life that we only get a glimpse of in movies and books. In 1919, after the end of World War I, President Wilson declared Nov. 11 Armistice Day. Armistice Day would be celebrated on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month. In its conception, it was thought of as a day to celebrate the conclusion of “the war to end all wars.”
The Department of Veteran’s Affairs said that Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day 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.
Veterans celebrate this day in different ways. There are national memorials to attend, others get together with fellow veterans and some treat it as any other day. In Huntsville there will be a ceremony and a placing of a wreath at the courthouse. There will be a choir and a moment of silence to commemorate fallen soldiers at the courthouse.
There are many veterans, like Joseph King, who have seen the face of war. Their stories, their experiences tell the stories of many. King said that he will never forget the day planes crashed into his ship. He saw friends die, but said he knew he was lucky.
For more information about Veterans Day visit, HYPERLINK http://www1.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.htm, and for information about the ceremony in Huntsville call 936-295-5959 and ask for Charlotte.