By Jim Tortolano
It was called The War to End All Wars, the Great War, or the World War. It ended on Nov. 11, 1918 a date originally honored as Armistice Day and now observed as Veterans Day.
On Wednesday at Santiago High School in Garden Grove students and faculty there made a special observance to honor those who served their country with a displays of military uniforms, maps, memorabilia and photos.
Standing a post at the display were members of the campus Junior ROTC unit, directed by Major Huascar Matias, their instructor. “We want to show the kids about Veterans’ Day, the history of Veterans’ Day, the service that all veterans provide to the country,” he said.
Also involved in the project is Sean Redmond, who teaches civics and history at SHS. The importance of the observation of the day is “to give honor to all of those who served our country,” he said. “It started out 98 years ago as Armistice Day. We’re coming up on the 100th anniversary of the United States involvement in World War One. It’s super exciting to honor them and show the kids people who have been in, students, faculty members, etc. And many of them have family members who serving now.”
Santiago High’s JROTC, started in 1995, has 115 participants, but its primary mission is not to serve as a recruiting tool for Army. “Our goal here is to get the students to finish high school and go onto college or find a career,” Matias said. “Only about 5 to 10 percent go into the military.”
World War One was fought from 1914 to 1918, primarily in Europe but also in other parts of the world. It started in 1914 with the assassination in Serbia of Archduke Ferdinand and raged until 1918, when the exhausted German forces agreed to an armistice – or halt to the fighting – against British, French and American troops on the western front in France.
The holiday was changed from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954 to honor Americans who served in all the nation’s wars.