WILLIAMS - American citizens take time out of their lives each year on Nov. 11 to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
Williams Veteran Perico Avila, a member of American Legion Cordova Post No. 13 in Williams, said Veterans Day is a chance to pay respects to those who lost their lives in the U.S. military and honor those currently serving or who have served their country in the past.
"You know, World War I and II and continuing on down the line. We don't want to forget them," Avila said. "And, remember the ones that are serving now, too at the same time. There are a lot of them that made it back and some of them that didn't."
The date of Veterans Day is historically significant. World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919 in France. Fighting finally ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. For that reason, Nov. 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of "the war to end all wars."
President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day in November 1919.
"We need to keep the tradition going of respecting and remembering them so that we can have the freedom that we have today," Avila said.
A number of those who lost their lives as members of the U.S. military rest in the Williams Cemetery, including Congressional Medal of Honor winner Frederick Platten. Platten, a Cavalry Sergeant, earned the highest award for valor fighting during the Indian Wars.
One function of the American Legion is to provide a support system for veterans. Avila, a service officer with the Cordova Post, said he tries to make sure service members in need of help with post-traumatic stress syndrome, among other post combat issues, are connected with help.
"A lot of people get help when they come back," Avila said "I try to help the ones that come home and problems develop later. I send them to the VA in Prescott. If I can't, I send them to another man in Flagstaff and from there they send them to higher ups. Sometimes, when (servicemen and women) come out, things develop later."
For more information about the American Legion, contact Avila at the Legion at (928) 635-0239.