Historical Society offers opportunity to reflect with exhibit on Camp Pendleton, local veterans
By Jan Siegel
The San Juan Capistrano Historical Society has extended its exhibit on the 75th anniversary of Camp Pendleton through Nov. 17. The exhibit was originally set to close on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. But the Society is holding its semi-annual meeting on Sunday, Nov. 12, and it will feature Col. Richard Rothwell (Ret.), president of the Camp Pendleton Historical Society. His talk will be on the history of Camp Pendleton. It seemed only fitting that the exhibit be extended to allow those who have not had an opportunity to see the memorabilia from Camp Pendleton and our local veterans.
Veterans Day is a time of reflection. It was originally called Armistice Day following World War I. That war was often referred to as “The Great War” or the “War to End All Wars.” While hostilities stopped between Germany and the Allies on Nov. 11, 1918, the actual Armistice was not signed until June 28, 1919 in the Palace of Versailles. However, the fighting stopped at 11 a.m. on the eleventh day of the eleventh month. It was easy to see why celebrating victory was commemorated on Nov. 11. In his proclamation on Armistice Day, President Wilson said, “to us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”
On June 4, 1926, the United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I and passed a concurrent resolution which “resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relation with all other peoples.” An Act of Congress passed on May 13, 1938 made the “11th of November in each year a legal holiday, a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as Armistice Day.”
In 1954, following World War II and Korea, the 83rd Congress amended the Act of 1938 by taking away the word “Armistice” and inserting the word “Veterans.” With the passing of Public Law 389 on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor all American veterans. On Oct. 8, 1954, President Dwight David Eisenhower issued the first “Veterans Day Proclamation” in order to ensure proper and widespread observances of this anniversary of all veterans.
From 1971 to 1977, Veterans Day was celebrated on the fourth Monday in October as part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. But in 1978, the holiday returned to the correct date of Nov. 11. If Veterans Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, like it does this year, businesses and government organizations may be closed on the Friday or Monday before or after the holiday.
And just in case you need a refresher—the difference between Memorial Day, celebrated in May, and Veterans Day, is that Memorial Day is meant to remember the fallen heroes in all wars fought by the United States, while Veterans Day reflects on all those who served in the conflicts.
This Veterans Day, take a ‘Moment in Time’ to reflect upon our military and all that they have sacrificed for us by joining the Historical Society at their semi-annual meeting at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 12, at the Community Center, located at 25925 Camino Del Avion. And don’t forget to stop by the Historical Society on Los Rios Street to view the Camp Pendleton exhibit. For further information, please call the Historical Society at 949.493.8444.
Jan Siegel is a 28-year resident of San Juan Capistrano. She served on the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission for 13 years and has been a volunteer guide for the San Juan Capistrano Friends of the Library’s architectural walking tour for 18 years. She was named Woman of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce in 2005, Volunteer of the Year in 2011 and was inducted into the city’s Wall of Recognition in 2007.