November 11th, 2013

Honor All Our Veterans Today…

On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month of 1918, bugle calls signaled the ‘cease fire’ ending the First World War. (The official Armistice was signed earlier that morning.) To those who endured it, WWI was “the War to End All Wars.” Tragically, an even greater conflict consumed the world just two decades later.

Today, 95 years after the end of WWI, Americans mark the anniversary of the WWI Armistice as “Veterans Day”. In Canada it is known as Remembrance Day. On this solemn occasion we honor all those who have served in the military in times of war and peace. Take time today to honor all those soldiers, sailors, and airmen who have served their nation with pride. Today we remember that… “All gave some, and some gave all.”

Brothers (and Sisters) in Arms — The Bonds Between Those Who Served
What is it that makes a person decide to potentially give their life for this country of ours? The answer to that question is as varied as the backgrounds and ethnicities of all military personnel. The reasons can be very personal, and in some cases may come out of necessity. Particularly at a time when the economy no longer offers young people the variety of work options after high school that it once did. For some, the choice was not theirs at all but a result of the Draft. A common thread I have found, however, is that we all support each other, like family, and learn through our experience just how unique we are as Active Duty Military, Reservists and Veteran citizens, whatever the reasons we joined.

As young adults, today’s new recruits or volunteers took that first fearful step, of signing their commitment to paper and giving several years of their lives to the service of our country, not knowing with any certainty what job they would be assigned, where they would go, what battle they would fight, and whether or not they would be alive at the end of that commitment. As Service members, we don’t quite realize, until we make it through boot camp and that first assignment, that serving our country is an honor, that this unique experience is something our friends back home cannot relate to, no matter how we try to explain it. It is a camaraderie, an everlasting imprint, and, for some, a never-ending nightmare that cannot be understood by those who have not served.

As a female Veteran, having served only four years in the early 1980s, I was fortunate, and served in a relatively peaceful era. I am amazed, however, at how much influence and impact the military has had on my whole life since then. A bond like no other exists between those of us who proudly wore a U.S. Military uniform and, each time I meet a fellow Veteran, we instantly connect and share a story or two. We stop what we’re doing and take some time to give back to each other.

Something that is not commonly known is that so many Veterans continue to serve long after leaving active duty. Members of organizations such as the VFW, American Legion, Marine Corps League, and many others, volunteer their time and energy to serving communities, service families, wounded warriors, and new Veterans. These organizations are made up of Veterans, young and old, working together as comrades in arms, to continue giving what they can to the country they love.

On this Veteran’s Day, take a moment to think about the lives of our brave, whether fallen or still alive, as well as those Veterans suffering from trauma, who are desperately needing to get their lives back. Perhaps you can give a little time to help or thank our brave.

Tania R.
Former Captain, US Army
USAFSA, Augsburg, Germany

Former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James Peake asked Americans to recognize the nation’s 23.4 million living veterans and the generations before them who fought to protect freedom and democracy: “While our foremost thoughts are with those in distant war zones today, Veterans Day is an opportunity for Americans to pay their respects to all who answered the nation’s call to military service.” Major Veterans Day observances are scheduled at more than 50 sites in 29 states.

On Veterans Day we especially need to remember the seriously wounded combat veterans. These men and women summon great courage every day to overcome the lasting injuries they suffered in battle. Some of these soldiers have lost limbs, yet volunteered to return to combat duty.

National Veterans Day Ceremony
The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery. Major regional ceremonies are also held throughout the country. CLICK HERE for list of regional Veterans’ Day events.