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Veterans Day program to be in Oak Grove

Nearly 100 hundred years ago, Veterans Day was established following the end of World War I.

Years later, we remember and pay honor to the veterans who have served this country by observing Veteran Day on Nov. 11.

This year, the ceremony will take place at 10:45 a.m. in Oak Grove Cemetery, Detroit Lakes.

This year's Veterans Day program at Oak Grove Cemetery will include VFW Commander Andy Foltz with the opening the ceremony, followed by opening prayer by VFW Chaplin Justin Knopf and then Foltz, Dylan Willie, American Legion commander, and Neil Olson, DAV commander, with the welcome.

The featured speaker this year will be George Peters, Purple Heart (4th Award).

Lake Region Veterans Color Guard will provide the rifle salute, with Lake Region Color Guard Buglers playing Taps.

Doug Koenig, DAV Chaplin, will provide the closing prayer.

Mulligan stew will be provided at the VFW Post 1676 immediately after the ceremony, and at the American Legion Post 15 at 5 p.m.

Nov. 11 became known as Veterans Day in 1918 after World War I fighting had ceased on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. For that reason, Nov. 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of "the war to end all wars."

It was official on June 28, 1919, though when the Treaty of Versailles was signed in France.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, it was in November of 1919 that President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.

He said, "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations..."

On May 13, 1938, Nov. 11 became a legal holiday, Armistice Day. It was to honor the veterans of World War I. But in 1954, World War II required the largest deployment of soldiers, and Congress amended the legal holiday to honor all veterans by changing the holiday to Veterans Day. It became official on June 1, 1954.

On Oct. 8 of that same year, Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first Veterans Day Proclamation stating that the holiday would be in observance of all veterans.

To take it one step farther, on June 28, 1968, a bill was passed to make Washington's birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Columbus Day Monday holidays to encourage three-day weekend travel, recreation and activities to stimulate the economy. Many didn't agree with the change though.

Under the new law, Veterans Day was now Oct. 25, the first one being celebrated in 1971. It caused so much confusion and anger, on Sept. 20, 1975, Pres. Gerald Ford returned Veterans Day to Nov. 11, starting in 1978, regardless of what day of the week it falls on.

"The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to Nov. 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day -- a celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good," the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website says.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.