Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Today is Veterans Day, a day to honor the many soldiers who have fought for us and our country throughout our history.
On this date in 1932, local veterans from both the Spanish-American War and World War I were honored at an “Armistice Day Dinner” in Bismarck. Later in the month, Bismarck’s Spanish-American vets also established their own local post.
These men, now long gone, were the older veterans of an older war. When war took them from their families and friends, the best way for these soldiers to keep in touch was to write letters. One North Dakotan soldier, Arthur Bennett, wrote: “Sometimes we perceive some strange combinations of sounds that are apt to fill one with conflicting emotions. … We are so used to going to sleep with bullets flying about us that I fancy we will have to hire some little boys with their pistols and caps to lull us to sleep when we get home.”
Another soldier said, “We enlisted to go to war. We went to war and we found it.”
The First North Dakota Volunteer Infantry served so admirably that their Lieutenant-Colonel praised them for their fighting, for their work, even for their cheerfulness. He said, “May we ever cherish the memory of the First North Dakota Volunteer Infantry and may we all honor the noble dead who are our sacrifice to the nation’s honor.” These words still ring true today.
Originally, this was Armistice Day-set up to commemorate the armistice agreement that ended fighting during World War I, and thus, honoring veterans from that war. The day was enacted as a holiday in 1938, and in 1954, Congress amended the act to honor all veterans of all wars.
Those first major battles that North Dakota took part in after achieving statehood seem very long ago. Yet it’s the same story-men and women making sacrifices, showing their love for their home and their friends and family that continues today.
It’s Veterans Day, a day which we all celebrate together, to honor all veterans … as it should be.
Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker
The Record – September 1899
The Record – July 1899
The Record – October, 1899
North Dakota Blue Book 2009-11
The Bismarck Capital, Nov. 22, 1932
The Bismarck Capital, Nov. 15, 1932