Veteran’s Day: Independence Comes at a High Cost

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Dominick, my 90-year old Veteran friend

Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.

~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Who would you trust with your life? The military is probably at the top of the list. Today is a day to remember their incredible sacrifice and also to honor those who currently serve.

 

THE HISTORY OF VETERAN’S DAY FROM VA.GOV

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France.

Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France, wait for the end of hostilities.  This photo was taken at 10:58 a.m., on November 11, 1918, two minutes before the armistice ending World War I went into effect

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “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…”

The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m

An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

Later that same year, ON October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first “Veterans Day Proclamation” which stated: “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.”

President Eisenhower signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

President Eisenhower signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day. From left: Alvin J. King, Wayne Richards, Arthur J. Connell, John T. Nation, Edward Rees, Richard L. Trombla, Howard W. Watts

 

VIETNAM

Back in the late 60′s, one soldier I knew said he had to take his uniform off before landing at the airport upon returning home from his 11 months in Vietnam. If he hadn’t, he would have been pelted with fruit, rocks and whatever else the anti-war activists decided to throw. He said to me, “How do you think I felt doing what my country asked, risking my life, and having to hide my service?”

Vietnam veterans were exploited to show the failures of war and their sacrifice was demeaned by some. They came back to a press that declared them to all be suffering from PTSD, scarring them again. We can’t let that happen again.

We sent our fighting men and women to Vietnam to fight and then we forgot them, in no small part thanks to domestic terrorists like Bill Ayers and The Weather Underground.

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” 
Ronald Reagan


 

Who cares if a solder dies?

Take a man and put him alone,
Put him twelve thousand miles from home.
Empty his heart of all but blood,
Make him live in sand, in mud.
This is the life I have to live,
This the soul to God I give.
You have your parties and drink your beer,
While young men are dying over here.
Play your politics and have your fun,
Then refuse to use a gun.
There’s nothing else for you to do,
Then I’m supposed to die for you?
There is one thing that you should know;
And that’s where I think you should go!
I’m already here and it’s too late.
I’ve traded all my love for all this hate.
I’ll hate you till the day I die.
You made me hear my buddy cry.
I saw his leg and his blood shed,
Then I heard them say, “This one’s dead”.
It was a large price for him to pay,
To let you live another day.
He had the guts to fight and die,
To keep the freedom you live by.
By his dying, your life he buys,
But who cares if a soldier dies!

 
WWI footage:

 
Hitler’s first speech in power:

 
WWII Tribute:

Honor our veterans and active-duty military today on this their day. God bless these men and women who sacrificed so much.

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