Today, thank a veteran for your freedoms
Remember. Honor. Thank.
One hundred and four years ago today, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, (November 11, 1918),
the Great War ends. At 5 a.m. that morning, Germany, bereft of manpower and supplies and faced with imminent invasion, signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside Compiègne, France. The First World War left nine million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded, with Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France and Great Britain each losing nearly a million or more lives. In addition, at least five million civilians died from disease, starvation, or exposure.
A year later, on November 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of the slaughter of the Great War, as it was called, and the subsequent armistice signing was designated Armistice Day. Because of its vast expanse and unprecedented number of deaths and severe injuries, plus massive destruction, Europeans and Americans celebrated the end of the Great War — as it was originally called, "the war to end all wars."
Alas, such optimism of no more wars was unwarranted. Twenty-five years later, another brutal, widespread war, World War ll, began, and the Great War was renamed World War l. Therefore, while the purpose of the holiday, to honor U.S. Armed Forces veterans, remains unchanged, the scope of the day and its name have changed over the years, as the helpful U.S. government census site explains.
Congress passed a resolution in 1926 making it an annual observance, and it became a national holiday in 1938. Sixteen years later, then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation changing the name to Veterans Day to honor all those who served their country during war or peacetime. On this day, the nation honors military veterans — living and dead — with parades and other observances across the country and a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
In recent years, all U.S. military branches have been unable to fill their recruiting goals — and no, not only because of WuFlu. Meanwhile, countries around the world turn to the U.S. for military aid; our service personnel are on active duty around the world.
Our country, our entire world is safer because of their commitment.
Remember their sacrifice. Honor their duty. Thank them.
Image via Max Pixel.