Veterans Day Ceremony Speeches
November 8, 2011
Liz Clain, Principal of Mamaroneck High School
Veterans Day November 7, 2011
As many of you know, Veterans Day has its origins in the ashes of World War I. To commemorate the anniversary of the end of World War I in 1919 President Wilson proclaimed that November 11th be declared Armistice Day and that this important day would honor Veterans who had served in the “Great War” and it would provide the citizens of the United States an opportunity to demonstrate our gratitude for those who died in the country’s service and who allowed the United States to continue its quest for peace and justice.
Nineteen years later, and just 18 months before Germany invaded Poland, Congress passed an act officially declaring November 11th a legal holiday known as Armistice Day. No one anticipated the carnage that would occur in the next 7 years and by 1954 the U.S. Congress was called upon once again to honor our veterans this time of the wars in Europe the Pacific and Korea – Armistice Day had outlived its name so many more men and women need to be honored and the word Armistice was replaced with the word Veteran.
President Eisenhower echoing the words of Lincoln said the following,
"Let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain."
And here we stand 57 years later, with the passing of 4 wars and countless military actions. Today we need to look backwards and remember those who have contributed so dearly to our freedom but Veterans Day is also very much about looking forward and making sure that for the men and women stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya, Kuwait and even Italy – the list goes on and on that we do not just remember them but that we support them and honor them in a dignified and meaningful fashion. We are blessed at MHS to have the Kemper Memorial which serves to honor the 99 men and women from the Mamaroneck School District who died in World War II. Two more names will be added to this monument as a testament to the devotion our community has in continuing to ensure that every World War II veteran is remembered and honored. And every day when I look out my office window I am reminded that the values that we all cherish and sometimes take for granted have come at a steep price for this community and for many communities around the country.