LOOK: 500 American Flags Setup at Newark Reservoir Honoring Veterans Day

by Jennifer Shea

A New Jersey Rotary Club chapter has strung up 500 large American flags at the Newark Reservoir as part of a Veterans Day tribute to local military heroes.

Volunteers from the Newark Morning Rotary Club spent an afternoon flying the flags last Friday, the Newark Post reports. Their effort was a product of the Flags for Heroes program, which their club joined in 2015. Hundreds of Rotary chapters all over the country take part in the program.

“It’s nice to have a visually spectacular tribute that reminds every passerby that we’re celebrating veterans,” Newark city councilman and Rotary Club member Jason Lawhorn told the Post around this time last year.

See the flags on display this year here:

American Flags Are a New Tradition at Newark Reservoir

The flags used to go up outside city hall, and there used to be only about 60 of them. But this year, the Rotary Club moved over to the reservoir, figuring they’d have more room and height for a visually striking display there.

Community members were invited to sponsor a flag to commemorate a veteran or other hero in their lives. All told, the sponsorship campaign brought in several thousand dollars, according to the Post. The proceeds will go to the community projects that the Newark Morning Rotary Club undertakes during the year.

At 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6, the Rotary Club will lead a ceremony at the reservoir to recognize Veterans Day. Veterans Day falls on Thursday, Nov. 11.

Veterans Day Was the Source of Much Confusion for a Decade

Like the flying of the flags, the date of Veterans Day carries a special meaning. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, an armistice broke out between the Allied nations and Germany in World War I. The holiday started out as Armistice Day, and in 1938, during the administration of Woodrow Wilson, Nov. 11 became a federal holiday.

After World War II and the Korean War, the holiday changed over to Veterans Day, according to History.com. Specifically, in 1954, Congress reacted to lobbying from veterans’ groups and changed the name of the holiday from “Armistice Day” to “Veterans Day.”

But that was not the end of the story. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. It moved four national holidays – Washington’s birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Columbus Day – to Mondays to give federal employees those three-day weekends. So they switched Veterans Day to October.

Some states broke with Congress and continued to mark Veterans Day on Nov. 11, the date that carried so much historical significance. As you might expect, this caused a lot of confusion. Some people flew their flags in October and others in November; Americans couldn’t agree on when Veterans Day was.

Finally, in 1975, President Gerald Ford signed a law making Veterans Day Nov. 11 once again. Government offices shut down on the holiday, and if it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, federal employees get Friday or Monday off.