Today is Veteran’s Day. It is the day set aside to honor and recognize all the men and women who have served in the armed forces. Veterans Day originally began as Armistice Day. Armistice Day celebrated the signing of the armistice, or peace agreement, between the Allies and Germany that brought to an end the major hostilities of the First World War. These hostilities ended on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first holiday for November 11, 1919. On that day he said, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with lots of 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.” Armistice Day was later changed to Veterans Day in 1954. Since the change, all veterans from all services and campaigns are recognized and honored.
Our service members sacrifice a great deal in the defense of our country. They sacrifice their personal comfort. Living conditions are not always ideal. From spending weeks in the field training to enduring extreme hot and colds in locations around the world, comfort is not always a priority. Our service members also sacrifice their families to some extent. Multiple deployments and extended training times pull our service members away from the ones they love. In some cases, a year or more. They miss important family dates (birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc.) and miss seeing their children grow up. More than anything else, they sacrifice themselves. Our service members expose themselves to not only physical harm, but emotional and mental trauma as well. The images of war are everlasting and life-changing. Our soldiers not only come home physically hurt, but mentally scarred as well.
On this Veterans Day, I would like to simply say “Thank You” to every Soldier, Marine, Seaman, Airman, and National Guardsman who has given a part of themselves in defense of the country we love so much. You and your family are appreciated more than words can express. If you enjoy the ability to come and go as you like, work where you wish, worship in the place you choose, freely and without restriction, thank a veteran. If you enjoy being able to participate in the democratic process, speak in opposition to government officials, vote, and even question why our military is fighting, thank a veteran. They fight so that we may enjoy personal freedoms.