On Veteran’s Day, Thank You to Vets & Americans

Posted on: November 11th, 2015 by Will Rodriguez 5 Comments

 

There are 22 million vets in America today, 7% of the US population.  Veteran’s Day is America’s way of celebrating her living veterans.  A veteran is an American who at one point or the other served in our armed forces during war or peace.  Most are volunteers, some were draftees.  They all took an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same”.

Some have served and paid huge prices like losing limbs.  Others have suffered lost marriages or long separation from loved ones.  In many cases veterans have lost the innocence that those that don’t serve all too often retain.  Veterans stationed overseas see America in a different light, some have a stronger desire for independence as they pursue creating their own businesses at a greater proportion than average Americans.  All served understanding they may have to pay the ultimate price.  Some have faced that reality and been forever changed.  We owe much if not all of our way of life to those that have defended it.  Today, Americans, as we tend to do after and during our wars make special efforts to thank their vets for their service.  It was not always a special day on the calendar.

After WWI, there was an international effort to commemorate the end of “the war to end all wars”.  At that point in human history WWI had cost the more lives than any preceding it at over four million.  America lost over 100,000 in that war.  WWI ended at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918.  The following year President Wilson decreed 11 November as Armistice Day and it is still celebrated as such by many western nations.   Congress created Armistice Day in 1938 to celebrate world peace and primarily honor the Veterans of WWI.

WWII called for 16 million Americans to don the uniforms of its armed forces, over 400,000 died wearing it.  Over time Americans wanted to commemorate more than the horror and service that originated from WWI.  This need became even more prominent after America put almost six million Americans in uniform to fight the Korean War.  Congress decided in 1954 to rename “Armistice Day” to “Veteran’s Day” and change the focus to honor all veterans.  Congress in 1967 decided to change a much older holiday called “Decoration Day” that commemorated the 600,000 Americans that died in our Civil War and the veterans that survived it into the current “Memorial Day”, a day dedicated to honor American dead in all our wars.

The convoluted history of Decoration, Armistice, Memorial and Veteran’s day along with a declining proportion of vets has caused much confusion over the years.  In short, Memorial Day commemorates our war dead and Veteran’s Day commemorates our living veterans but as veterans we never forget those that didn’t come back and they occupy a special spot in the nation’s memory as well.

So on Veteran’s Day I offer an inadequate thank you to all my brothers and sisters who have worn the uniform of our great nation.  To those that thank me and my comrades for our service I respond with a heartfelt and deep appreciation for their support.  I lack the ”eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor” to communicate an honor beyond expression. “

Happy Veteran’s Day to all.  Now let’s live our lives and create a nation worthy of that tradition of service and sacrifice and never forget those that didn’t come home…

Be Respectful, Candid and Pertinent. No Posers, No Trolls…
  • YankeePapa

    .
    …A vanishingly small number of Americans serve… even as a mess cook in the National Guard.   A majority of young Americans can’t even qualify for that.  Physical condition, education, literacy, drugs, criminal records, tats… 
    .
    …The level of support by citizens of the Republic (beyond the “home team” football fan level) doesn’t run very deep.  Family, friends, veterans from other eras… a few pockets of people that care and try as best they can to understand like some of the civilian members of SOFREP. 
    .
    …For those currently deployed at the “sharp end”, the discovery that back in the States there is “normalcy…”  To some extent that has happened in all wars… people at home without a loved one deployed  go on about their lives.  
    .
    …But since 2001 it has become pronounced.  Try to picture America after Pearl Harbor with only a tiny fraction serving… without war bond drives…shortages… rationing… front page news almost every day.   In WW2 people understood that they were in a “crusade…” 
    .
    …After Pearl Harbor type fanfare following 9-11,  the citizens came to understand that there was no crusade…  Rather, what T.R. Feherenbach called “…wars of the far frontiers…”   Endless patrols in the alleys and back country of nations that we had “liberated”… many of whose people had no gratitude.  No Liberation march through Paris kind of thing.  
    .
    …Large majority of citizens at home became disgruntled… then just tuned it all out.  The only thing that the home front lost was some of its freedom… but most tuned that out too.   Politicos still make campaign speeches about “supporting the troops” , while gutting the military in an increasingly dangerous world… and permitting “mad scientist” social experiments on our combat forces.
    .
    …A few years after 9-11 many of the deployed lads knew that they may have been at the sharp end… but America was “at the mall…”
    .
    -Yankee Papa-

  • YankeePapa

    .
    …I hit the “post comment” key too soon.   I was going to add that I posted this on SOFREP earlier today.
    .
    -YP-

  • Txazz

    God bless each and every Veteran.  We do owe our all for our American way of life.

  • aGrimm

    A day late and dollar short, but I’ll comment anyway. I have a deep and abiding sympathy and respect for those veterans who have physically and mentally suffered as a result of their service.   On the other hand, I like to look at the other side of the veteran coin.  Like so many other veterans, my service time sure squared my head on right.  Overall, we do much better than our peers.   Veterans Day is a day to celebrate the honor, integrity, courage and strength of heart that we gleaned from the service.  It is a time to celebrate the fellowship we all share.  We are the best and I am damn proud of being with the best.  So “Thanks Team” and may all your Veterans Days be good ones.

  • aGrimm 
    Well said.