Photo courtesy of NCinDC
Today is Veterans Day, and while many of us enjoy a break in the action, it is a great time to recognize those who fought for the freedoms we enjoy today, and remember those who are not getting a break in the action because they continue to protect those freedoms.
The History of Veterans Day
Veterans Day was originally established by proclaimation by president Woodrow Wilson in 1919 to mark “the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory” of World War I. The end of World War I was officially marked by the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919. However, fighting had stopped several months earlier when a cease-fighting agreement was made between the Allied forces and Germany to commence on “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.” Some years later, in 1926, U.S. Congress officially recognized the end of World War I, and an Act in 1938 officially established November 11th as a legal holiday.
Thank a Veteran
Chances are you know someone who has served in the military. If you don’t you can easily find a veteran to thank by attending Veterans Day parades, VA hospitals, etc. I don’t have to go very far. My grandfather joined the Marines at the end of World War II. He went through flight training and was deployed to Korea for the Korean War. He returned from Korea and continued to serve in the Marines before being called back to duty for Vietnam. He served a twenty-nine year career in the Marine Corp, and was overseas for up to 18 months at a time on various tours of duty. The sacrifices he made, and my mother and grandmother made while he served, are examples of what makes this country great.
We like to toss around the word “hero” a lot these days. For me, the brave men and women who willingly put their life on the line for America’s cause are the real heroes. So take some time to thank a veteran today. Also remember to think of those still serving our country today, at home and abroad, and the thousands who came before them.
For more information on the history of Veterans Day, or to learn about Veterans Day celebrations, visit The United States Department of Veterans Affairs.