Veterans Day is an opportunity for us to collectively recognize our Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard veterans. These patriots sacrificed, both in war and in peace, to protect America and the American way of life. We should personally honor our brave men and women who have proudly served this great Nation, for they are the fabric from which our flag has been woven.
I publish this post to express my gratitude and respect. I also am a veteran of the US Air Force, so I know first hand what these people endure to assure our safety. Feel free to personalize and share this post with others.
Armistice Day, the original name for Veterans Day, recognized the day the combatants signed the ceasefire during World War I. This action put an end to hostilities on November 11, 1918, at 11:00 A.M. This moment was the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, making it easier to remember. Our Government first designated Armistice Day to honor those who fought in World War I. The World’s community of nations proclaimed World War I to be “a war to end war.”[i] Unfortunately, it didn’t. Following World War II and the Korean War, Congress replaced the word “Armistice” with “Veterans” in 1954 to honor all American veterans.
It is easy to recognize our veterans as active-duty service members who are very visible due to our ongoing operations overseas. However, the majority of veterans we honor today no longer actively serve wearing a military uniform. Many have gone on to become our teachers, police officers, firemen and neighbors. Whether they wear the military uniform today, or wore it decades ago, veterans represent an unwavering dedication. These people exemplify the highest ideals of service to our Nation.[ii]
Today, we are still a Nation at war. October 7, 2011 marked the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. We honor the unwavering courage of the people who served in our Armed Forces, including those in the ongoing efforts to secure our Nation and fight against terrorism.
Our people in uniform both past and present, have been, and are, the most powerful line of defense in all conflicts against enemies who set out to harm our way of life. The true strength of our military is the spirit and skill of the people who have worn the service uniforms of our Nation. They have answered the call to duty from all across America.
Over the course of the last year alone, our Airmen remain focused on our missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliate networks around the world. our military forces are justifiably proud to be part of the Joint team that finally brought Osama bin Laden to justice this year. At the same time, our Air Force maintained constant vigilance to defend America through our continuous air sovereignty, space, cyber, and nuclear deterrence missions.
But that’s not all we asked our Military to do this year. In addition to the efforts described above, they demonstrated their capability to respond successfully to other unexpected events. This includes joint operations with our NATO allies and other partners in Africa. They also provided timely disaster relief to our friends in Japan, following the terrible earthquake and tsunami. Closer to home, our Military people helped their fellow Americans battle wildfires, hurricanes, and other severe weather in the United States, Haiti, and nations in the South China Sea. Our Active-duty Military, like all of our veterans, make us exceedingly proud each day.[iii]
Today, approximately 223,000 Airmen are actively engaged in some type of operation. That’s roughly 43 percent of our Air Force. As you look at the numbers, it’s easy to focus only on our Airmen who are far from home, separated from love ones for six or maybe 12 months, doing the Nation’s work. But, Veterans Day is not only about recognizing those deployed Airmen, Veterans Day also recognizes the noble service of all service members who report for duty every day to carry on the fight from the home front[iv]—and, all of our veterans past and present who have helped maintain the sovereignty of our Nation whether they are overseas or at home.
As our service members depart from our shores, we look forward to their safe return home. However, we know that some of them will not return alive and well. It is our responsibility to honor those who return home, especially our wounded warriors. We must never forget those who paid for our freedom with the ultimate sacrifice.[v] We must also honor the families of our veterans, who sacrifice in their own, often uncelebrated ways.
As long as we remain engaged in prolonged conflict, Military service people and family support will continue to be a key focus area of our Military leadership. Our Government and Military leaders must always recognize and honor their accomplishments and sacrifices to our Nation.[vi] They took a solemn oath to do so. Our US Constitution mandates our US Government to PROVIDE for our common defense. That is a strong and clear obligation. It is stronger than the following clause, “to PROMOTE the general welfare.”
America is fortunate to have service members who exemplify commitment to duty, willingly display valor under fire, and favor humility over glory. This notion of selflessness and sacrifice—the likes of which are exhibited each and every day by Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen—is the bedrock of our all-volunteer force.[vii]
To our veterans—our service members of all ages—who engaged in combat, stability, and humanitarian operations—we honor you. To those service members who paid the ultimate price or who are still missing or unaccounted for—we honor you by remembering the sacrifices you and your families made for our great Nation.
Veterans Day is a day of Honor and a day to Honor. On this day of celebration and reflection, we should thank everyone who has worn a U.S. military uniform for their honorable service and for our freedom.
—- Bibliography and references —
[i] The American Pageant, 12th Edition, David M. Kennedy, Lizabeth Cohen, Thomas A. Bailey, Ch 31, The War to End War, 1917-1918, American Public University (www.apnotes.net/ch31.html); and Wikipedia.org; Woodrow Wilson (www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodrow_Wilson#cite_ref-81)
[ii] Veterans Day, SAF/PA 2009 Air Force Public Affairs, Veterans Day,2009,
[iii] 2011 State of the Air Force, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley Remarks at the Air Force Association’s 2011 Air & Space Conference & Technology Exposition, National Harbor, Md., Sept. 19, 2011, (www.af.mil/information/speeches/speech.asp?id=669)
[iv] The Enlisted Perspective, Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy, Remarks at the Air Force Association Conference and Technology Exposition, National Harbor Center at Oxon Hill, Md., Sept. 15, 2010, (www.af.mil/information/speeches/speech.asp?id=615)
[v] Not Forgotten, SAF/PA 2007 Air Force Public Affairs, Memorial Day, 2007, (www.afoutreach.af.mil/afspeakers1/speech.asp?id=559)
[vi] 2011 Air Force Update, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, Keynote speech during the Air Force Association’s Air & Space Conference & Technology Exposition, National Harbor, Md., Sept. 20, 2011 (https://newafpims.afnews.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-110921-014.pdf)
[vii] 2011 Air Force Update, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, Keynote speech during the Air Force Association’s Air & Space Conference & Technology Exposition, National Harbor, Md., Sept. 20, 2011 (https://newafpims.afnews.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-110921-014.pdf)
Tags: veteran’s day, military, holiday, gratitude, service, veteran