American have fought in many wars over the years since we decided that we would be a sovereign nation embodied with unique laws and freedoms.  We fought for our freedom and fought each other.  We fought  to free countries from oppression and fought to keep oppression from spreading.  With the exception of one war, the American fighting man returned to a nation that universally welcomed him and her home. 

Each year we acknowledge the sacrifices made by all the members of our military.  While many leave the military without physical or mental wounds they have still placed their lives on hold for years to insure we continue to live under the light of a free country.  Such are the sacrifices of a noble youth.  To honor these men and women, the United States instituted a special day to pay tribute.  This day is Veterans Day.

Following the end of World War I, the war to end all wars, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11th as Armistice Day to acknowledge the men and women who participated in this conflict.  His proclamation read, “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…”  In 1938 this holiday became a legal national holiday with the intent to observe a day to promote world peace.

The War to end all Wars was not to be. Eventually the world was gripped in an even more tragic war where not only did nation fight nation but innocent men, women and children were sent to a certain death in an attempt accomplish “racial purity”.  Once again America answered the call to service and after a war in two major theaters of operation we helped to keep the world safe for democracy.  Within five years we were once again plunged into another war in Korea that is referred as the forgotten war. 

In 1954 Congress amended the 1938 proclamation to strike through the word “Armistice” and insert the word “Veterans” and recognize all the men and women that served.  Later that year President Eisenhower, the architect of the winning of the European theater in World War II, made the first proclamation of the first official Veterans Day.

Many of the of the same principle and artifacts that were with us in 1918 have remained as part of our countries fiber.  I rmember as a small child my father running in to take me to the Veterans Day Parade.  My first sight of the color guard, dressed in helmets and carrying the American and Louisiana flags made me know that I wanted to be a soldier someday.  My father would bring in poppies to put on our shirts; a tradition that began when the soldiers marched off the ships when returning from World War I and  were presented with poppies.  I bought them this year for my grandchild and she proudly wore it to church.

While the observation of this holiday took a decline in the late sixties and seventies a rejuvinated nation took notice after Desert Storm and has expanded to a point that national restaurants now provide free meals as a thank you to our veterans.  This is reminiscent of stories told to me by my college chemistry professor when I told him I was dropping out ot school to join the Navy.  “When I got to New York after world War II and was in uniform I never bought a coffee.  Someone would all ways walk up and tell me that he would like to buy the coffee for me.”  This was the same gesture I passed on when in Saudi Arabia I would see young men and women in uniform in the Al Shula Mall.  This continues in air ports around the country today.  Hopefully this kind act will continue. 

Happy Veterans Day and for those that served th

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