The holiday originally was set aside to celebrate the end of The World War, which we now know as World War I, and was known as Armistice Day. The armistice that ended the war was signed on "the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month," and that is why Veterans Day 2009 is celebrated on November 11.
"Never have so many
owed so much
to so few."
(paraphrasing Sir Winston Churchill)
The terrible atrocity that took place last week at Fort Hood has served to focus the nation's attention on service members and their families in the days leading up to Veterans Day 2009. It is a reminder, and hopefully a wake-up call to all Americans, that today's world is a far more dangerous place than many are willing to either recognize or admit.
It drives home the point that we are not safe, even on our own soil. If unarmed American troops, preparing to deploy in defense of freedom, can be slaughtered at will on a military installation, as happened at Fort Hood last week, how can the rest of us have any illusion of safety? Our hearts and prayers are with the families of those killed and wounded at Fort Hood, and the rest of the military family. Such a tragedy affects us all.
On this Veterans Day, as has been the case for the previous eight Veterans Days, America is facing an enemy more vicious and determined than perhaps any other in our history. Yet too many Americans still view the world through their Norman Rockwell glasses. They seem oblivious to the fact that there is a very large number of radical extremists in this world who intend to eradicate America and Americans from the face of the Earth.
In our complacency and "political correctness," which is highly over-rated, we continue to welcome with open arms all those who want to come to America, legally or illegally. Our enemies are taking advantage of our trusting and giving nature. We are cautioned against pointing out the obvious for fear of offending someone.
Well, folks, on this Veterans Day 2009, the veterans and patriots among us are offended at the apathy of the rest of America, and we are offended that extremists intent on doing us harm have infiltrated our society. We recognize the dangers facing us, and as we have always done, we will continue to stand up and speak up to protect and preserve freedom around the world, and most especially, in our homeland.
We are no longer be content to be a part of the Silent Majority. We will be more and more vocal until our voices are heard.
Last weekend, the Navy commissioned its newest warship, the USS New York, whose bow stem was forged from 7.5 tons of twisted and charred steel recovered from the ruins of the World Trade Center, the site of the worst terror attack on American soil. Wherever she goes, her bow cutting through the water will lead and inspire her crew to Never Forget those innocent victims who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
As she delivers her payload of roughly 800 United States Marines and their equipment to troubled regions of the world, the USS New York will "take terror to the terrorists." Around the globe, and especially by our enemies, our Marines are respected and feared as the fiercest, most effective fighting force in the world. Coincidentally, Veterans Day comes just one day after the Marine Corps birthday on November 10. Happy Birthday, Marines, Semper Fi!
Americans owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to those few among us throughout the years who make sacrifices to ensure that the rest of us have the freedom to enjoy our own versions of The American Dream. Americans are uniquely seen throughout the world as defenders of freedom, not just at home, but around the globe.
There is only one American World War I veteran still living. Frank Buckles is 108 as he celebrates this Veterans Day.
And America's World War II veterans, who have been called The Greatest Generation, are leaving us at a rapid rate. Vietnam veterans, the only group of returning veterans in the history of this country to be greeted with contempt and disrespect, are reaching retirement age.
Today's latest generations of warriors are surviving horrific battlefield wounds thanks to advancements in medical care, and are returning home to find numerous organizations dedicated to assisting wounded warriors. Those Vietnam veterans who remember the way they were treated have vowed that never again will another generation of America's warriors be treated with disrespect. And they're gratified to see the resurgence of support and appreciation being shown to our military men and women and their families.
So today, we'd like to say Thank You to all American service members, past and present, and to your families, who don't take an oath or wear a uniform, but who serve nevertheless. November is also Military Family Month, a perfect time to honor our military families.
Please take a moment to post your personal message of thanks to our veterans and their families.
A number of merchants are offering Veterans Day Specials as a way of saying Thank You to our veterans.
If you would like to pay tribute to a particular veteran who is special to you, or to all veterans, please consider sponsoring a Christmas wreath to be placed on a veteran's grave at Arlington or one of our nation's 350 other National Cemeteries. Military-Money-Matters.com has partnered with Wreaths Across America so that if you sponsor a wreath using our code (follow the link for the code), they will provide a third wreath for every two that are sponsored by our readers. We thank you for your generous participation.
Other pages you may be interested in:
American Heroes of Our Time
America's Most Decorated Soldier
Before You Go, a musical tribute to World War II veterans.
Little Rock teacher Martha Cothren teaches her students a valuable lesson about freedom.
We Are the Nation
Veterans Charities Falling Short