Today is Veterans Day. It is often an overlooked national holiday. However, it honors the men and women who have kept the nation free.
Veterans Day started out as Armistice Day. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first anniversary of the armistice ending World War I as “Armistice Day” on November 11th, 1919. Congress followed a few years later making “Armistice Day” a national holiday. It was not until 1954 that November 11th became a day to honor all veterans, via a bill signed by President Dwight Eisenhower proclaiming the day as “Veterans Day.”
The history aside, today is a day in which we should pause and remember and thank our veterans. Veterans are not alien to us. They are found all around us. There is the grandfather who is in his eighties who remembers his days in World War II or Korea like they were yesterday. There is the uncle who served in Vietnam. There is the guy you work with who served in the Gulf War. There is your neighbor down the street who continues to serve deployment after deployment in the War on Terror.
The price paid for service by our veterans is seen and unseen. Those who were wounded or disabled in combat are clearly seen and deserve honor. But, those with unseen sacrifices deserve the same honor. They are fathers and mothers who spend long months away from their families serving our nation. They sacrifice what the rest of us consider to be normal in life to stand post against those who would do this nation harm. They give up what we take for granted, as do their families and friends.
So, take time today to thank a veteran for his or her service to our country. They stood post and many still stand post, in places we do not want to even think about, so that we can be free to live our lives. More than this holiday, we owe them our gratitude and respect. That gratitude and respect is best illustrated by committing ourselves to making sure that those who serve and their families have the best America can give them and that we never let those who served be forgotten in post service hardships.
Toby Keith found in music and video a tribute that is fitting. Watch it and remember if you like your freedom, thank a veteran. Thank you veterans and families.