Veterans Day Honors Military Members; Some Traditions Have Roots in Georgia –

2015 Veterans Day Thank You

By Richard Barid and Michael Smith

For nearly 100 years Americans have honored the sacrifices of veterans on November 11th. But some may not know how this tradition started.

Originally known as Armistice Day, November 11th commemorated the cease fire at the end of the First World War in 1918, which then was known as the War to End All Wars. After the conclusion of World War II and the Korean War, the holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 in honor of all soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who had fought for their country.

Parades honoring veterans have been a part of the holiday from the start and can be found in cities and towns across the country including Savannah. Every year thousands of people line the streets of downtown Savannah to see the military members, veterans and scouts that march in the parade and to pay their respects.

Every year the holiday is marked with a special ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. An unknown soldier who died in World War I was buried there on Nov. 11th, 1921. His tomb is guarded 24/7 by the Army Honor Guard. On November 11th the president or his designee lays a wreath at the tomb in honor of the sacrifices of all armed service members.

Veterans groups also celebrate the holiday by distributing red poppies on November 11th. The poppies are a symbol of a poem written by Canadian military doctor John McCrae. The poem, In Flanders Fields, describes the improvised gravesite of fallen soldiers that was dotted with clumps of the vibrant red flowers.

In Remembrance

In Remembrance

The last stanza of the poem beseeches the reader to take up the torch of those who had died. Moina Michael, a teacher at the University of Georgia, felt compelled after reading the poem to start a campaign that would use the sale of red poppies to assist returning soldiers and their families. The campaign spread nationwide through veterans organizations and subsequently worldwide.

Many business owners honor veterans on this day with offers of free meals, haircuts and discounted services. At Smith and Barid, we pay our respects to the brave men and women who have served in the military and our first responders by offering to prepare free wills for them on the Monday before Veterans Day.

Preparing free wills is a small way that we can offer peace of mind to the people who have selflessly sacrificed so much to protect our country. With a will in place our service members and first responders know that even if the worst should happen at least their loved ones will be provided for.

We also offer services every day of the year to assist veterans in accessing their federal pension benefits to pay for medical care. Known as Aid and Attendance Pension Benefits, the VA program helps veterans and their surviving spouses to pay for home care, assisted living or nursing care as well as medical supplies and medicines.

Veterans not only risk life and limb for their country but also spend countless hours away from their families and their homes.

The least we can do is say, “thank you.”


Richard Barid and Michael Smith are co-founders of Savannah-based Smith Barid LLC, which specializes in estate planning, business planning and special needs planning. They are both accredited VA attorneys with extensive experience arbitrating denied pension claims. They can be reached at 912-352-3999 or or

Richard Barid

Richard Barid

Michael Smith

Michael Smith

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