Today is Veteran’s Day, but it is also 11-11-11. I always loved to learn about Veteran’s Day in school because I thought it was cool that the reason they chose November 11 to celebrate was because the fighting during WWI ended on 11/11/1918 at 11:00.
Because of this, in November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “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…”
It is a day to remember those who have served in the US Armed Forces since this country has come into being. Each and everyone has made sacrifices in their time, relationships, jobs, and so much more. Many have sacrificed their lives for the freedoms we so very much love and take for granted.
One year ago, we stood at Arlington National Cemetery on Veteran’s Day and paid tribute to all those who sacrificed all for us. The seemingly unending rows of white grave markers truly shows just how many people have given their lives in service. To think that those markers represent only a small number of the lives lost is overwhelming.
Arlington Cemetery 2010
Having been born into a family with a strong military history makes me even more proud of the men and women in uniform. My grandfather served in WWII and was stationed all over Europe. He never speaks of his time in service and we know very little about the time he spent serving. I read a quote the other day by Jose Narosky, “In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.” It made me really stop to think about the truth of that statement. The wounds of battle whether physical or mental are deep and I truly understand the reasons for my grandpa not wanting to talk about the time spent in war.
My dad is a retired Army Reserves Master Sergeant. During his younger years, he served in the USAF, but decided to get into the Reserves in the early 1970’s. He spent many years traveling to different states on his weekends of service and during the summer. I remember as a kid during the first Gulf War being really scared that my dad was going to have to go to war. I must have been about 10 and I asked him if he thought he would have to go. He told me that he was too old and they would never send him, but I still worried about it. I think about kids whose parents have to go overseas all the time. It is so hard as a child to understand what it all means and they give up a lot during the time away from their parent. It really is a sacrifice for everyone involved.
So to every Veteran, every spouse, every child, every parent, and every friend, I say thank you for giving so much to make our country free. Go out each day and live life to the fullest. That is the best way to show that you are proud of the sacrifices service men and women have made for you. In the words of JFK, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget the highest appreciation in not to utter words, but to live by them.” Happy Veteran’s Day!!