Today is Veterans Day. On this day in 1918, the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour, the hostilities of the "Great War," now known as World War 1, ceased with the signing of the armistice earlier that morning. The official ending of the war would come in June of the next year with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.
One year after the signing of the cease-fire, in 1919, President Wilson declared the day a holiday, Armistice Day. From his proclamation:
“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn 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…”
In 1954, in order to recognize veterans of all wars, President Eisenhower declared the day Veterans Day. It was also a federal holiday. Later, observances were moved to fourth Monday of October. More recently, it has been moved back to its original date, November 11th, in order to respect and remember an important date in American history.
Webster's 1828 dictionary defines it thus:
An account of facts, particularly of facts respecting nations or states; a narration of events in the order in which they happened,with their causes and effects.
Many people aren't all that interested in history anymore. Others are determined to change it to suit the personal agenda. It happens to be my favorite subject, although I confess this time period is not one I'm particularly familiar with. But here are some facts to remember:
Our country became an independent nation by the efforts of men willing to fight to make it so.
Our country has been preserved through over two centuries by the efforts of men and women willing to fight to keep it so.
Our country still has people who believe in this effort.
Today, we honor those who have served our country as our defenders, our protectors.
I find it significant that we use the word "serve" when we speak of our military men and women, not "work for" our country, or "in the employ of" our country. They SERVE our country. The word indicates a deeper commitment than general employment. There is a sacrifice implicit in that service. Sometimes it is the ultimate sacrifice of a life given. Often, it is the sacrifice of a life lived away from family, from home, of placing self in danger in order to protect others. The sacrifice of doing things they would never just choose to do, but know that it is necessary to do. Of then living with those memories for the rest of their lives.
My father is a veteran, so is my stepfather. Both served over two decades in the Navy. I remember my father being away for months at a time. No internet or web cam at the time. We recorded cassette tapes for him! He is now fighting a different battle, this time with cancer. And he's giving it his all. We pray for him daily. I am proud of him, and my stepfather, for the service to our country. They did it for my family, they did it for yours. My new son-in-law (how different that sounds!!!! But a good different!) is presently serving in the Army. He expects to be deployed to the middle-east sometime again next year. We pray for him, too.
So, in gratitude to those of you who have SERVED your country, and to those of you who continue to do so
God bless you and your families!
I'm thankful today for you.
I'm thankful today for you.