Since today is Veterans Day in America, I thought it might be a good idea to do a blog post on the subject. The Veterans Day holiday had actually gotten its start as what is referred to in most of the world as Armistice Day, which originally marked the formal ending of the major hostilities of World War I. The hostilities officially ended with Germany at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.
In proclaiming the Armistice holiday in 1918, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson stated:
"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations."
Although the United States originally observed the holiday as Armistice Day, it eventually evolved into what is now the current Veterans Day holiday in 1954.
Veterans day is a day to remember all those who served in the Military throughout the years. I served myself for three years in the United States Army, in West Germany from 1984-1987, under president Ronald Reagan. Okay, it sort of shows how old I am. The fact that there were two Germanys back then is probably another indication. The Berlin wall came down just a few years after I got out of the army though. I just missed history being made.
I served in the 92nd Chemical company, 3rd Infantry division. The 3rd infantry Division is the same division Audie Murphy, the highest decorated soldier in World War II, served in. Of course, I didn't quite receive the number of decorations he did. Not even close.
A few years after I left Germany, my unit, the 92nd Chemical Company, was sent to fight in the Gulf War. Many of them came back suffering from the mysterious Gulf War Syndrome. Some died. At first the government denied that the illness had anything to do with their service but later admitted it.
The sad thing is that we do not treat our veterans as they should be treated. This has especially been brought to light recently with the VA hospital scandals. There simply is no excuse for such a thing. I was fortunate in that I came back home from my time in the military in perfect health, both physically and mentally. Others have come back both physically and emotionally scarred. Those are the ones who deserve our thanks the most. Just as they are the ones that deserve to be treated better and appreciated more.
If you see a veteran today, thank him or her. If you see someone who is serving now, thank that person too. Some of the best memories I have of my service were when people on the street saw me in my uniform and came up to me to thank me. It really meant a lot to me. I am sure it will mean a lot to those serving now.
So take the time to thank a veteran today if you get the chance.