Veteran’s Day, Honoring American Soldiers Since 1919
America’s veterans have fought to maintain the freedoms we enjoy for decades. Every November 11th, on Veterans Day, we honor these courageous individuals and their sacrifice. In truth, they deserve more.
What is Veteran’s Day?
Veterans Day was initially called Armistice Day (Truce Day). It was the brainchild of President Woodrow Wilson, who wanted to honor the veterans of WWI and commemorated the hour and day that the armistice went into effect on the Western Front at 11:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918. Wilson proclaimed:
“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…”
Protect and Serve
The patriotic men and women, living or deceased, of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard, help our country in a variety of ways. Soldiers are willing to sacrifice to serve our citizens and country. They leave their families behind, traveling to foreign soil and fight, risking their lives to protect our freedoms. These brave folks provide services, like aid to tragedy-stricken countries and saving innocent lives. When natural disasters strike, the military is usually on the forefront, ready for rescue and reconstruction.
Our altruistic service men and women do get benefits. Our country offers soldiers an education, free travel, training, and life experiences they couldn’t receive elsewhere. However, everything comes at a price. These patriots pay a mystery price for each reward. It might be a time on a battlefield, an injury, or even death. The life of a soldier is not easy, many face mental, physical and emotional challenges that the average civilian cannot fathom.
Because of the trials and tribulations our military warriors face, some come home suffering long after the war is over. Mental illness wasn’t an acceptable military sickness until the late 1970’s. It was sometimes recognized, but more so frowned upon. PTSD is a common ailment found in soldiers who experienced the heat of battle. A Washington VA study released in 2017 showed suicide among soldiers is 22% higher than civilian men and 2.5% higher with women. Veterans Day is the one day a year that these survivors know we appreciate their strength and recognize their suffering.
We are United!
We all have a relative somewhere in the family tree who served in a branch of the military. My father was a WWII Marine veteran, and most everyone I know has a father, brother, sister, cousin, uncle, or someone who actively served. In 2018, there are over 16.1 million veterans alive who saw active duty, 2 million of which are women. These brave folks willingly signed up to serve the country during war or peacetime, knowing the risks.
We want to encourage Veterans, and their family and friends to submit a photo for recognition. Our goal is to create a slideshow that honors the soldiers and officers who have given, or risked their lives for our freedoms. Armed forces photo submissions will be sent a gift and acknowledged in a special presentation. Please submit your photos here.
Appreciating Their Service
The United States isn’t the only place that celebrates those who fought to preserve a country. Countries all around the globe believe in honoring their living and fallen heroes in some fashion. Canada, France, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, the United Kingdom, and many other European countries celebrate Remembrance Day for their WWI and WWII veterans in November each year. Switzerland, New Zealand and a few other countries honor their veterans in the spring months.
The important thing is to honor them. Appreciate our American veterans and understand the sacrifice they willingly make the moment they enlist. Upon seeing a military person in uniform, it isn’t uncommon to speak, or hear others say, “thank you for your service.” Sometimes, those five simple words can make a soldier’s day. Happy Veterans Day. We appreciate your service and your sacrifice!
James E. Thomas during WWII
Image Courtesy of J. Shockley