A question about honoring local church services times or honoring veterans came before the DeFuniak Springs City Council. A large contingent of Veterans were present at the Council meeting and expressed their feelings about the start time of the Veteran’s Day Ceremony. A lengthy statement was read about the history of Veteran’s Day. The Council was told mistakes have been made and the groups would hold an event at 11 am.
Council member Ron Kelley said this year is the first time Veteran’s Day has landed on a Sunday. He noted the Veteran’s Day holiday comes with a specific time. The plan has been to hold the ceremony at 1:00 p.m. to allow everyone to go to church. He said the veteran’s asked to have the event at 11:00 a.m. on the 11th.
About.com says many Americans mistakenly believe that Veterans Day is the day America sets aside to honor American military personnel who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained from combat. They note Memorial Day is the day set aside to honor America's war dead. Veterans Day, on the other hand, honors all American veterans, both living and dead.
Unlike other holidays, Veteran’s Day takes place on whichever day it falls, even a Saturday or Sunday. Veteran’s Day came from Armistice Day and became a holiday in 1954. At exactly 11 a.m., each November 11th, a color guard, made up of members from each of the military branches, renders honors to America's war dead during a heart-moving ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery. While the President issues a proclamation declaring November 11th as Veteran’s Day, it does not set a time. Because of the ceremony at Arlington, many feel local events should take place at 11 a.m., keeping in the same service arrangement as Arlington.
Russell Ferris, the local DAV Chapter Commander said their officers and members want the event to be held at the 11th hour. Tom Brooks with the VFW said they have been working with the city to hold the joint ceremony for several years. He said some feel Magnolia Cemetery is not an appropriate place for the Veteran’s Day ceremony. The city installed a veterans memorial and both the Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day events have taken place there. The Council was told that if it was not for Veteran’s then there would not be God in the country. Several comments were made that they do not understand why the time could not stay at 11:00 a.m. and that people can go to church or choose to attend the ceremony.
Mayor Carpenter told those at city hall they all pledged as “One Nation Under God.” Council member Kermit Wright said he would never put Country before God. Someone in the audience said they are not putting Country before God, just asking the churches to change their time or those who want to attend the ceremony to do so instead of church. The motion passed 3-2 with Wright and Work the nay votes.