A Thank You to our Veterans
Sunday is Veteran’s Day, which will be observed on Monday, November 12th instead as the holiday falls on a weekend. Sometimes it’s a holiday that gets easily lost in the focus on Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas—the “fun” holidays that close out the calendar year.
Unlike Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day pays tribute to all American veterans—living or dead—but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime. There are 16.1 million living veterans who served during at least one war. There are currently 1.6 million on active duty and another 800,000 in the reserves.
Veteran’s Day celebrates the end of World War I – the War to end all Wars. That war officially ended at 11:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918—100 years ago! Veteran’s Day originated as “Armistice Day” on November 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. It wasn’t until Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance that November 11th became a national holiday, beginning in 1938.
We have several members of our family currently on active duty service scattered throughout the world – including the Middle East and Korea. We miss these young people. We know they would rather be home than where they currently are. But we also recognize the need for their service and are very thankful they have volunteered for our common safety.
Looking for some suggestions for observing Veteran’s Day? Find a family member or friend who has served in the military. We all likely know someone who has served or is currently serving. It might be an interesting experience to ask a veteran about their time in the military. “What was your day like? Where did you serve? How long were you there?” You could also donate to a local or national veterans organization. My wife Margaret’s favorite is the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, which provides scholarships for post-high school education to deserving sons and daughters of Marines, with particular attention given to children whose parent has been killed or wounded in action.
Another idea is to volunteer at your local Veteran’s Hospital; have a cup of coffee and a conversation with a veteran. The Salvation Army is a great resource to connect to organizations in your area that benefit or assist veterans. No matter how you choose to honor veterans on this holiday, we hope we all can pause to be mindful of their service and the sacrifices they make for us all.