Message from Mike Parks, Rear Admiral, U. S. Coast Guard (Ret.)

CEO, American Red Cross Northeast Ohio Region 
Offers Veterans Day Reflection

Fellow Red Crossers:

As we all know, the origins of the American Red Cross were found on the battlefields of our nation.  Our organization has a proud history of serving those who faithfully served our country, both in times of peace and in times of war.  That tradition lives on today.

On this day, we must remember that on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, World War I ended.  Though the Armistice was signed at 5 a.m., fighting continued till 11 a.m., killing nearly 11,000 more men.  In 1921, President Warren Harding had the remains of an unknown soldier killed in France buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery.  Inscribed on the Tomb are the words:  “Here lies in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”  On November 11, 1921, President Harding stated:  “On the threshold of eternity, many a soldier, I can well believe, wondered how his ebbing blood would color the stream of human life, flowing on after his sacrifice…I can sense the prayers of our people…Let me join in that prayer. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come…”

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Photo Credit: Gwen Bochmann/American Red Cross Volunteer

Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day in 1954 to honor all U.S. Veterans.  In 1958, President Eisenhower placed soldiers in the tomb from WWII and the Korean War. The soldier from Vietnam, buried by President Reagan in 1984, was identified by DNA tests as pilot Michael Blassie and was reburied in 1998 at Jefferson Memorial Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri.

Photo Credit: Cal Pusateri/American Red Cross Volunteer, U. S. Marine Corps (Ret.)

To all those who have worn the uniform of our country—thank you for your selfless service to a grateful nation!  Best regards…Mike

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