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Cook County Connections: Honoring our Veterans

Nov 04, 2022 09:17AM ● By Content Editor
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From Cook County, Minnesota - November 4, 2022

By: Karen Christianson, Cook County Veterans Service Officer

"There is nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer." -- Gen. James H. Doolittle

On Friday, November 11th, we once again take time to honor the men and women of our armed forces. The following few paragraphs explain the history behind Veterans Day.

In the early morning hours of November 11, 1918, in Compiegne, France, the Allied powers signed a ceasefire agreement with Germany, negotiating an end to World War I at 11:00 a.m. that day.

President Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day one year later, saying, “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….” The original celebration included parades and public meeting following a two-minute suspension of business at 11:00 a.m., the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the time at which World War I ended.

Between World Wars I and II, November 11 was commemorated as Armistice Day in the United States, Great Britain, and France. Following World War II, the holiday became a day of tribute to veterans of both wars. Then, in 1954, the United States designated November 11 as Veterans Day to honor veterans of all U.S. wars. The Commonwealth of Nations celebrates Armistice Day as well but has renamed it Remembrance Day.

Just like the Memorial Day article, I began to think of how to teach children about Veterans Day. Along with this I feel it is also important to talk about service.

- What is a veteran? A veteran is anyone who has served in the United States armed forces – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

- Who are Veterans? Veterans are men and women, moms and dads, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. They are both young and old. They serve in both wartime and times of peace.

Chances are you know a veteran – it could be a family member, a friend’s parent, a neighbor, a teacher, and so on. Giving a face to the concept can be very helpful.

- What does serve mean? It is an “act of helpful activity”.

- How do I teach service? Teach your child the concept of service by helping them serve or volunteer, in your own community. You may already be involved with a local organization and could bring your child with you next time.

Be sure to emphasize the impact their actions are having on others. Show them the positive effect they are having. This will give them a huge sense of pride, something I hope all veterans feel about their service to our country.

Friday November 11 the Cook County High School will have a Veterans Day program with the American Legion Honor Guard participating. The program will be held at 2:00 p.m. in the gym. Following the program, the American Legion Post 413 and the Women’s Auxiliary will host a free meal for Veterans and their spouses at the Birch Terrace from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. 

Great Expectations School will also have a Veterans Day program on November 11 at 8:30 a.m.

I encourage all Veterans to connect with their County Veterans Service Officer (CVSO) to determine if they are eligible for any state or federal Veterans benefits. When discharged, a Veterans first stop should be to their local County Recorder’s Office to record their DD214. The second stop should be to their County Veterans Service Office for a check on available benefits. No matter what the age of the Veteran, it is always best practice to record your discharge papers and talk to your CVSO about benefits for which you may be eligible. If you are not eligible for state or federal benefits, there may be other programs you could be connected to that are offered to Veterans through a variety of organizations dedicated to helping Veterans in need.

To contact your Veteran Service Officer for Cook County, Karen Christianson, call 218-387-3639 or email at [email protected]. Office hours are Monday – Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.


Have a very safe and enjoyable Veterans Day.


County Connections is a column on timely topics and service information from your Cook County government. Cook County – Supporting Community Through Quality Public Service.

 Related: Free meals for Cook County Veterans in two separate events