Military life has had a strong presence in the North Country for more than two centuries, making Veterans Day a special day for many in our region.

The North Country has been home to American military operations since the Revolutionary War.

We all know the story of the Battle of Plattsburgh, and how pivotal it was in the War of 1812.

The site we now know as the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base has been home to military operations since the 1830s.

The Reserve Officer Training Program, or ROTC, began in Plattsburgh in 1917, and was known as the "Plattsburgh Idea."

And of course, we hosted an Air Force Strategic Air Command base from the mid-1950s until it closed in September of 1995.

With such a strong military tradition, it is no wonder that Veterans Day, which we will observe on Monday, Nov. 11, means so much to so many.

It is a day in which we honor those men and woman who have honorably served our nation.

Their commitment, sacrifice and bravery can never be lauded enough.

The day that we honor our veterans has an interesting history.

It was first known as Armistice Day and was established to honor the end of World War I.

The war officially ended on Nov. 11, 1918 in the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

The U.S. government officially made it a holiday in 1938, calling it Armistice Day, and it was designed to honor World War I veterans.

But just a few short years later, the world exploded into another world war, which surpassed World War I, which was a truly deadly event, in its gruesomeness.

And a few years after that, the U.S. was involved in yet another conflict in the Korean War.

In 1954, in the wake of those wars, and at the behest of many veterans' organizations, Congress changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

The day has since been to honor all American veterans of all wars.

It is different than Memorial Day at the end of May, which honors those who have died in service of their country.

Veterans Day was moved to the last Monday of October in 1968 as Congress tried to regulate holidays, but not many liked that idea.

In 1975, it was returned to its rightful date of Nov. 11.

The North Country does a fine job of honoring veterans not only on holidays designated for them, but year round.

North Country Honor Flight has attracted hundreds of people to ceremonies the past six years as dozens of veterans were honored with a trip to Washington, D.C. to visit our war memorials.

Since 2013, North Country Honor Flight has flown 254 veterans on 17 flights to Washington.

They operated five flights this year and have six planned for next year.

The community has rallied around the program raising funds in droves to pay for the flights.

A loud, strong message had been made clear: The North Country loves, respects and honors its veterans and will continue to do so.

There are numerous ceremonies planned for Monday to honor our veterans and we urge North Country residents to attend one and give thanks to our valiant men and women in uniform.

If not, at least take a moment to say a silent thank you that is so well deserved.

 

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