A parade is a time-honored way of recognizing the heroes among us and celebrating the sacrifice of our service members and veterans. Liberty University’s campus has been chosen as the location for this historical event to take place and we are so excited for the opportunity to be involved.
Retired Air Force Colonel Charles Olson, President of the Lynchburg Area Veterans Council (LAVC), recently wrote the below post describing the history and purpose behind Lynchburg’s Veterans Day Parade and I wanted to share it with our students:
It’s Time to Get Serious about Lynchburg’s Veterans Day Parade
We have been promoting this as the “first Veterans Day Parade in Lynchburg in 79 years” because the last parade was 1938. It’s now time for some perspective… this was between WW I and WW II, technically the 1938 parade was for the WW I veterans of which Monument Terrace honors. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War, then known as “the Great War.” That event was commemorated as “Armistice Day” the following year. It was 20 years later that November 11th became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938. This was the date Lynchburg had a parade, and this was the last Veterans Parade in Lynchburg Virginia!
It is unbelievable that our WW II veterans have not been in a local parade honoring their sacrifice. World War II was the deadliest military conflict in history in absolute terms of total casualties. An estimated 60 million - 80 million people were killed worldwide during WW II. The U.S. was the last of the major combatants to enter the war when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Yet this hardly spared the nation from horrific casualties. The total U.S. causalities are estimated at 291,557. That is an average 220 personnel dying per day, nearly 6,600 every month, for the 1,364 consecutive days the U.S. fought in the war. Added to the nearly 300,000 combat deaths are 670,846 service members who suffered non-mortal wounds.
The Korean War began when North Korea invaded South Korea. The United Nations, with the United States as the principal force, came to the aid of South Korea. China came to the aid of North Korea, and the Soviet Union gave some assistance. The war was initially described by President Harry S. Truman as a "police action" as it was an undeclared military action. It has been referred to as "The Forgotten War" because of the lack of public attention it received both during and after the war. The Pentagon calculated Korean War battle deaths at 33,652 and non-battle deaths at 3,262 (a total of 36,914 U.S. casualties).
The American effort during World War II (1941-1945) saw the greatest mobilization of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force in the nation’s history (more than 16 million people); some 5.7 million more served in the Korean War (1950 to 1953). In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars. In 1954, after lobbying efforts by veterans’ service organizations, the 83rd U.S. Congress amended the 1938 act that had made Armistice Day a holiday, striking the word “Armistice” in favor of “Veterans.” President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the legislation on June 1, 1954. From then on, November 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars. I am on very safe ground stating that Lynchburg has never had a Veterans’ Day Parade and it’s about time!
The Vietnam War was a long, costly armed conflict that pitted the communist regime of North Vietnam and its southern allies. The divisive war, increasingly unpopular at home, ended with the withdrawal of U.S. forces in 1973 and the unification of Vietnam under Communist control two years later. More than 3 million people, including 58,000 Americans, were killed in that conflict.
The Cold War spanned from September 1945 to December 26, 1991, was global in nature, and had many facets and changing strategic considerations. Many of the losses in the Cold War were on missions that are still under the veil of total secrecy. As estimated by the American Cold War Veterans, at least 389 soldiers were killed in the line of duty with 123 are still classified as Missing in Action (MIA). The true extent of Cold War casualties is unknown, but taking in to consideration the results of U.S. and Soviet support proxies across the globe, the true death toll is likely many millions.
The Persian Gulf War began on August 2, 1990, when approximately 100,000 Iraqi Army troops crossed the Kuwaiti border. Operation Desert Storm was waged by coalition forces from 35 nations led by the United States. On February 28, 1991, a mere 100 hours after the coalition launched its ground offensive; U.S. Central Command liberated Kuwait and halted offensive operations. The United States deployed 694,550 service members to Gulf War and suffered 382 military casualties.
The Global War on Terror began shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. This led to military action in Afghanistan and the second invasion of Iraq, which ultimately toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. To this day, American troops are fighting against extremist groups in Iraq and Afghanistan. As of 28 May 2017 (Memorial Day), there were 6,915 battle casualties and still climbing. The true death total of this ongoing war is deeply insidious as many veterans quietly suffer with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In 2012, an estimated 6,500 former military personnel died by suicide, and a year later the United States Department of Veterans Affairs released a study which showed that roughly 22 veterans were dying by suicide per day, or one every 65 minutes.
IT’S TIME TO SHOW OUR VETERANS THAT WE HONOR THEM AND THEIR FAMILIES FOR THEIR SERVICE!
The cost of our freedom is too high! This year we will have a Veterans Day Parade in Lynchburg Virginia and We Will Not Fail Them!
You can follow LAVC on Facebook to see where this was originally posted and also learn more about the parade and other events in the local community.
Liberty University’s Student Veterans Association and Students Behind our Military will be assisting the Lynchburg Area Veterans Council by helping them set up and organize the Parade, and we need your help. If you would like to sign up to volunteer for the Veterans Day Parade you can click here to do so (update: the sign-up list has now been closed). I look forward to serving alongside you and celebrating our nation’s veterans!