VETERANS DAY NOVEMBER 11 This federal holiday “pays tribute to all American veterans–living or dead–but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime”, according to History.com. It originated as “Armistice Day” on November 11, 1919, the 1st anniversary of the end of World War I which officially occurred on that date in 1918, at the “11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month”. For this reason, the United States holiday occurs near the same dates as Canada’s Remembrance Day and Britain’s Remembrance Sunday, which also honor soldiers who fought in the “war to end all wars”. It became a national holiday in 1938 and was renamed as Veterans’ Day in 1954 after the Korean War.
According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs website, observance was changed for several years to a set date in October from 1971 to 1977. President Gerald R Ford signed legislation returning it to the original observance in 1978, preserving the significance of that date. It’s often said there is some confusion of Veterans’ Day with Memorial Day. However, since the name of the May holiday implies it memorializes American military members who lost their lives In service to the country (“memorial”), it should easy to recall that November 11 is a day to pay tribute on to ALL American veterans, especially those living veterans who served honorably in peacetime or war.
Possibly one of the most famous US Olympic runners who also served in the US military was Louis Zamperini. His story was brought back to the world’s attention in the Laura Hillenbrand book, UNBROKEN, a New York Times Bestseller, which was later to become a major motion picture released in December 2014.Evan Andrews wrote a short piece for History.com that provides "8 Things You May Not Know About Louis Zamperini".
Growing up a juvenile delinquent-turned high school track star in the city of Torrance CA, Zamperini became the youngest distance runner to make the US Olympic track and field team in 1936 at age 19. Although he finished out of the medals in the 5000-meter event, his last lap was run in less than a minute, which raised hopes he could break 4-minutes in the mile, his preferred distance.
With the onset of World War II, the 1940 Helsinki Olympics, which had been moved from Tokyo earlier, were cancelled. Like the dreams of so many young men and women of the day, his athletic aspirations were dashed by the global conflict. It is veterans like Zamperini we honor today. During the war he endured physical torture and survived imprisonment. After the war he likely suffered what is now called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and overcame the devastating effects of that condition as well. We owe a great deal of what we enjoy in life to veterans. Their sacrifices aren’t always evident. If you run today, do it in their honor.
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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