Veteran’s Day

Re-posted from 2011… also please visit John Erickson’s post here.  All old people jokes aside, I’d point out that this holiday, born out of the ashes of WWI, will be observed this year (2012) for the first time without a living veteran of that war.  And so the saying goes, we just fade away…

Those of you with history in my blog know in advance this is not going to be a funny post. Far from it: this entry is to ensure you all don’t miss the significance of today beyond the really serendipetous arrangement of the digit “1” when representing the date. ...more 11.11.11...Equally pleasing is the idea that all of our foreign friends can probably also tangentially enjoy the meaning of the day in some way.

Today is Veterans Day. The holiday started as Armistice Day, and commemorated the end of World War I. The date of the observance was selected to reflect the official time of the end of what was called “The War to End All Wars”: the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. At the time, the world was reeling in shock at the aftermath of the marriage of the industrial revolution and modern warfare. Here in 2011, we know too well the result of the intent to have WW I be the final World War.

Interestingly, WW I was not the highest casualty-producing war for our country. That record rested with the Civil War in 1918 and still stands today.* America also got off quite light in that war by comparison. England, France, and Germany (and others) lost a virtual generation of men in a few short, violent years.  President Wilson initiated the notion of a commemorative holiday to mark the history, and on June 4, 1926 Congress made the holiday official, with the President issuing the desired proclamation. Later, it officially became Armistice Day and an official US holiday in 1938, and then Veterans Day under President Eisenhower in 1954 to more broadly include those serving in World War II and Korea.

If you are reading this and are an American, you may be asking yourself what you ought to do for this holiday. Each year the holiday is marked by a ceremony in Arlington, Virginia that is highlighted by the President placing a wreath on the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. I would encourage you to watch this. I would also ask you to please fly your flag today to honor the men and women who paid for your freedom with their lives because they died for the flag and were buried under the flag. Though the holiday began to honor those of WW I, it now spans all of those who served and the approximately 1.34 million buried around the world who died in your service.

If you are very curious turn your web browser of choice to these terms: Lexington and Concord, Gettysburg, Fredricksburg, San Juan Hill, Belleau Wood, Normandy, Bastogne, Midway, Leyte, Chosin Reservoir, Ia Drang Valley, Mogadishu, and Fallujah. If you’re getting odd results, add the term “Battle of” to each. There are many, many more. These merely serve as highlights. The point to gain is the fact that the soil all over the world is soaked in the blood of American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. It was shed for the notion that their individual lives were less valuable than the well-being of all our loved ones at home, and that our way of freedom-loving life is worth dying for.

One final thing I will say here is probably most important, at least to me. Today I’d appreciate it if you not hit the comment button to thank me. Rest assured I will continue to serve whether I get thanks or not; this is not about me. What I would like you to do – if possible – is get out of the house today. Go find an old veteran, one with gray or white hair, or maybe a salt-and-pepper rebel ponytail. Look for the small, modest lapel pin of a decoration, or the plain but proud ballcap stating one’s Veteran status. They hang out at VFW’s and American Legion halls. Walk up and shake their hand, make sure you look them in the eye, give them a firm grip, and thank them for serving.

Thank those Veterans because without their past service, I would have nothing to defend today.

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

Thank you, Mark Pakula (The Idiot) and GraysonJack (angry rant)


21 Responses to “Veteran’s Day”

  1. The only things I’d add to this are to also search Antietam/Sharpsburg, and at some point, say a prayer/offer thoughts to those, past and present, who defend and strengthen our nation.

    And than you, BR.

  2. I’m sorry LtC. In my post, I forgot about flying a flag. Americans do it more than Canadians. Perhaps we should learn to follow suit, at least on this one special day. You don’t Need our thanks, but be assured you have our respect, along with every one of your brothers and sisters who ever donned a uniform.

  3. I have always been a staunch defender of Remembrance Day (as it is called in Canada). My grandfather lost all of his brothers but one in WWII & the brother who did come home was so shell shocked he was never the same again. Most of those great-uncles helped to build the church I was married in (it was the best reason for getting married there I could think of). Without their sacrifice I could not live the way I want to & I’ve always been very grateful for them. As I am for you.

  4. Thank you, my friend, for the services rendered. Including the plug for my humble post. What you, and your fellow fighting men and women, do for us can never truly be repaid. All we civilians can do for you will never be enough. But at the very least, I will do my utmost to make sure that, even as old soldiers leave us, what they did for us will NEVER be forgotten.
    Godspeed, dear friend, and come home safe.

  5. Hey Rants… Per your request, I won’t tell you thank you. But I will say thank you to our troops who keep us safe. I told John this already, but my husband met Clyde East. He fell and hit his head so they were on the emergency call. He said he is a fascinating man and told hs story while they were bandaging him up…

  6. whiteladyinthehood Says:

    You can be very inspiring when you put your hear into your writing. Excellent post.

  7. whiteladyinthehood Says:

    oops *heart

  8. My mother survived WWII. She was already a teenager when it began and became a totally different person when it ended. She would tell me of stories of hiding in the hills, of constant fear, hunger and pain – emotional and physical. deprivation of every comfort we know now. She keeps saying you would never want it to happen to anyone else, the price of life that walks this earth becomes just a number on tragedies such as these.

    Memories of such act, to protect an intangible truth that can only be bought by life should not only merit historical pages and memorial days. It should merit a collective conscience of humanity and we should learn from them.

    Symbolisms will only matter if the people remembered them for what they stood for, in mind and in hearts.

    … and the rants live on.. 🙂

    • Excellent story from your brave mother. Thank you.

    • Ysobele – Might I ask where your mother lived at the time? I’m very much interested in lesser-reported bits from World War 2. I’d appreciate any information you could pass my way. Thank you in advance!

      • @ brainrants – forgive me for making your comment box a dialogue trail 🙂

        Sir John, my mother was born in the sleepy town of dumaguete, Negros Oriental Phil, in 1933.

        Can’t remember exact details of places of where they hid in the countryside but as children what I do remember was her stories of having to take turns on going out to gather food, dressing as a boy. If ever they would encounter Japanese soldiers, they would play out a script of dumb and deaf. Fortunately for them they never had to use it, but they sure learned how to climb trees as fast as monkeys and run like hell.

        an uncle of her’s was abducted once, and they never saw him even after the war.

        When Liberation came, she told us of how she would go to american camps to ask for blocks of cheese and run home, keeping her treasure under her shirt. Which is why we never ran out of cheese at our house. She keeps saying american cheese were the best and that it was as big as a loaf of bread.

        When she grew a little older, it was the same story revolving around cheese at breakfast, sometimes the story would tweak a little but its still the same. Her exhiliration of finally being able to come out of the fields and be full of american stuff.

        this is turning out to be a blog. I’m sorry brainrants, can’t seem to find sir John emai e.. hahahah.. 🙂

        FYI. my mother passed away last April 2011.

        • My condolences about your Mother. She sounds like quite a Lady, capitalization intentional.

        • Thank you so much for that, Ysobele. That is indeed a tremendous story, and I must absolutely second ‘Rants comment – your mother was indeed a Lady. I worked with a young gent from Bataan, and he had some family stories similar to those of your mother. Any time you want to write more, you can reach me at zenaru (at) myomnicity (dot) com. And if you want me to find you historical resources concerning the war, I would be more than happy to dig around, then point you in the right direction. I’ve been studying WW2 history for decades, so it would be my privilege and honour to help you find out more.
          Again, thank you so much for all those memories. And thanks, ‘Rants, for letting us hijack your blog. Remember, mine is ALWAYS available for a hijack – hint, hint! 😉

  9. Reblogged this on themommygauntlet and commented:
    Happy Veterans Day to all. And thank you, thank you, thank you to military members and families past and present.

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