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Honoring Our Veterans' Sacrifice

Nov 5, 2007
Columns

Veterans Day is an opportunity for each American to honor the millions of men and women who wore the uniform in sacrifice and service to our country.  Our veterans represent the best of this world – courageously defeating tyranny and oppression to protect our freedoms. We are all forever indebted to them, and we should take time to personally thank our local veterans.

While reflecting on Veterans Day, I am reminded of a letter a father sent to his son, Private First Class Harry Bott, fighting in World War I:

“Dear Son be strong and have faith in the future and rest assured that all has been done that could be done you have a fine little Baby Girl she is 5 days old today and is doing well and she will be waiting for you when you return but your dear wife has passed to the other side today...”

PFC Harry Bott grieved over this news, but continued to bravely serve. He fought so he could make a more peaceful world for his daughter and her generation of Americans.

From the American Revolution to Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, the wrong in the world is no match for the courage and selfless drive of an American Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, or Coast Guardsman fighting to make the world safer. We not only appreciate, but celebrate, the better world that our veterans have created.

Veterans Day, first called Armistice Day, commemorated the end of the fighting in the First World War.  This armistice was signed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.  The next year, President Woodrow Wilson celebrated the anniversary of the signing of the armistice in 1919.  The purpose of the celebration was to thank the living veterans for their service and to acknowledge the sacrifice of both the living and the deceased veterans. In 1954, the name change formally took place nationally. 

Veterans Day is an important annual event, but we should remember our veterans every day of the year. There is currently a nationwide effort by the Library of Congress to collect and preserve American war veterans' stories.  In addition to first-hand accounts from veterans, the Veterans History Project seeks stories from civilians who participated in defense industries or who know a veteran's story.  To contribute your story or research the stories of other veterans, please visit: https://www.loc.gov/vets.

Today another generation of Americans fights for freedom in distant parts of the world.  Like veterans of past wars, today’s servicemen continue to perform brilliantly to protect our country and our friends. They fight for our democracy, our freedoms, and our way of life.  Many of them are from our local communities. 

This Veterans Day, we recognize our veterans’ courage, as well as remember and celebrate their sacrifices. We should always remember and acknowledge in our thoughts and prayers the men and women who are currently fighting for America.  God bless our veterans, God bless our troops, and may God continue to bless America.