U.S. to veterans: Thank you
Web posted at: 5:47 p.m. EST (2247 GMT)
In this story:
ARLINGTON, Virginia (CNN) -- President Bill Clinton and others across the United States paused Wednesday to say thank you to the men and women who have served and, in many cases, died for their country while serving in the armed forces.
Veterans Day observances included the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery; parades from coast to coast; and a one-man awareness-raising demonstration by a Vietnam War veteran who planned to spend 24 hours in a cramped bamboo cage.
Eugene Davis, 47, said he still remembers the chilly reception he received when he came home after serving in the Navy. The New Jersey man hopes his time in the 6-by-6 cage will help people remember all veterans, especially those who remain missing or were prisoners.
Flag flying tribute to POWs/MIAs
In another remembrance of POWs and MIAs, the stark black and white flag symbolizing America's prisoners of war and those missing in action officially flew over some federal buildings for the first time on a Veterans Day.
The flag features a prominent, foreground silhouette of a captive being watched from a guard tower. Beneath the image are the words, "You will not be forgotten."
Under a federal law enacted last year, the POW/MIA flag can be flown on the patriotic holidays of Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day and National POW/MIA Recognition Day, which is the third Friday in September.
Wednesday marks the 80th anniversary of Armistice Day, the official end of World War I. In 1954, the United States changed the name of its observance to Veterans Day to honor all of the men and women who have served the United States in combat.
"We cannot expect future generations to understand fully what those who came before saw, experienced and felt in battle," Clinton said at the Arlington ceremony. "But we can make sure that our children know enough to say 'Thank you.'"
Took note of the Cold War, a time when the United States and the now-collapsed Soviet Union were technically at peace, but stood on the brink of nuclear confrontation. Because U.S. military personnel of that era "stood ready, we live in a very different world," Clinton said. "No longer is there a single, overriding threat to our existence. Former adversaries are becoming our partners."
The president helped place a flower wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington, where Manuel Tanguma Jr., the national commander of the Catholic War Veterans of America, paid tribute to veterans "who put their lives at risk, so that their children and grandchildren would never experience the horrors of war."
"This ceremony calls upon us to commemorate the many who offered the ultimate sacrifice for our country," he said.
Boost in veterans' benefits
Earlier, Clinton signed an order increasing veterans' disability payments, extending priority health care to Gulf War veterans and creating a system for averting future combat-related health catastrophes.
The president also released $1.1 billion appropriated by Congress for the enhancement of military readiness. The funds will be used to beef up recruitment, cut the backlog of equipment awaiting maintenance and purchase spare parts for Air Force and Navy aircraft.
Other Veterans Day events in Washington included:
Wreath-laying ceremonies at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and at the future site of the African-American Civil War Memorial.
A salute to Hispanic veterans.
Back to the top
© 2000 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.