Today is Veterans Day. On the calendar it might appear to be one of the “lesser” holidays that we observe. It is one of those days where government offices and banks are closed, there is no mail delivery; but for many, this day is no different from any other day. However, this day is far different from other days, for it is a day set aside to honor those who have served, those who have risked everything so that the rest of us might be able to enjoy freedom.
We know that ours is a nation that was birthed in a struggle for freedom and the struggle has never ceased. The early twentieth century brought “the war to end all wars” which, unfortunately, did not end all wars. My Grandfather served in the Navy during “The Great War” which officially ended on June 28, 1919. However, most of the fighting ceased when a 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. Hence, we observe Veterans Day on November 11.
One of my favorite veterans is my Father who served in the Navy during World War II spending most of his time on Destroyers or “tin cans” as they were called. He says that people might think it sounds crazy but he says he would not trade that time for anything. The experience took a young man from the foothills of the Appalachians across the country from New England to California and from the Aleutians to the South Pacific. It took him to the Battle of Leyte Gulf where General MacArthur famously declared, “I have returned.” World War II veterans are a real national treasure and I am blessed that Dad recently celebrated his 93rd birthday.
Another one of my favorite veterans is my son. Before he started his senior year of high school he had already committed to the Marine Corps. He signed up early so that he would be able to get his desired job because “a real Marine is a rifleman.” He graduated from high school on a Sunday and the following Tuesday he was on Paris Island. Although he was in the reserve, his unit was activated and he served a tour in the Middle East. A few months ago, his active commitment ended and he has joined the growing ranks of new veterans.
So, Happy Veterans Day to all those who have served, but especially to my two favorite veterans: my Dad and my Son.