A year after the signing of the treaty to end World War I, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11, 1919 the first commemoration of Armistice Day. Speaking the following words he honored those who fought for our freedoms and the freedoms of others:
“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…”
In 1926, Congress made Armistice Day an annual holiday to honor veterans both past and present. President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1964.
Long before we ever had a specific date dedicated to honor those who serve, the importance of the debt of gratitude we owe them was verbalized by President Abraham Lincoln in a letter dated November 21, 1846 to a Mrs. Lydia Parker Bixby. Upon learning that she was the mother of five sons who all died in the Civil War fighting to preserve the unity of the United States, Lincoln wrote,
“…I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the republic they died to save…”
Keeping the history of our veterans alive is just one of the goals of the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center. Among our collections are oral histories, letters, documents and photos from battles our veterans have participated in. We take great pride in sharing and displaying our archival information for the public to enjoy. Within our archives is a collection of World War II photos taken by Col. John Duty Collins while he was stationed in England. These photos are an invaluable look into the daily life and destruction war places on countries.
|Corp. Charlie W. Dieball, USMC, former P.O.W.|