Thoughts on Veterans Day
It’s difficult to keep track of everything these days, for any number of reasons.
For example, did you know that today is Monday? I know! Neither did I. It’s hard to stay on top of things.
With that in mind, I thought it would be worth mentioning that this Wednesday, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day. It’s an important day that’s worth remembering.
In the 30 or so years Franklin Homestead & Carriage House has been operating, local veterans of America’s military conflicts have made their homes here, visited family and friends here, and supported our work in various capacities. We are so grateful for each and every one of them, as well as for all veterans who sacrificed much to protect our country.
Reflecting upon the sacrifices made by America’s veterans, President Ronald Reagan once said, "We remember those who were called upon to give all a person can give, and we remember those who were prepared to make that sacrifice if it were demanded of them in the line of duty, though it never was. Most of all, we remember the devotion and gallantry with which all of them ennobled their nation as they became champions of a noble cause."
When Wednesday rolls around, be sure to thank the veterans in your life for what they have given. Especially try and take time to call, FaceTime, or Zoom with someone who is dealing with isolation during this trying time. Your simple gesture of giving a little time will mean the world to them.
But don’t forget the other days. Veterans Day is a reminder, but not the be-all-and-end-all for showing gratitude and supporting troops. It should be a habit, whether by reaching out to thank a vet, advocating on the behalf of veterans, or being mindful of how our own actions might impact a veteran dealing with PTSD.
As President Barack Obama said regarding the recognition of veterans, "It's about how we treat our veterans every single day of the year. It's about making sure they have the care they need and the benefits that they've earned when they come home. It's about serving all of you as well as you've served the United States of America."
Speaking at the Veterans Day National Ceremony in Arlington, VA, on Nov. 11, 1961, President John F. Kennedy eloquently summed up the legacy of hope and tragedy encapsulated by Veterans Day:
“In a world tormented by tension and the possibilities of conflict, we meet in a quiet commemoration of an historic day of peace. In an age that threatens the survival of freedom, we join together to honor those who made our freedom possible. The resolution of the Congress which first proclaimed Armistice Day, described November 11, 1918, as the end of ‘the most destructive, sanguinary and far-reaching war in the history of human annals.’ That resolution expressed the hope that the First World War would be, in truth, the war to end all wars. It suggested that those men who had died had therefore not given their lives in vain.
“It is a tragic fact that these hopes have not been fulfilled, that wars still more destructive and still more sanguinary followed, that man's capacity to devise new ways of killing his fellow men have far outstripped his capacity to live in peace with his fellow men.
“Some might say, therefore, that this day has lost its meaning, that the shadow of the new and deadly weapons have robbed this day of its great value, that whatever name we now give this day, whatever flags we fly or prayers we utter, it is too late to honor those who died before, and too soon to promise the living an end to organized death.
“But let us not forget that November 11, 1918, signified a beginning, as well as an end. ‘The purpose of all war,’ said Augustine, ‘is peace.’ The First World War produced man's first great effort in recent times to solve by international cooperation the problems of war. That experiment continues in our present day -- still imperfect, still short of its responsibilities, but it does offer a hope that some day nations can live in harmony.”
To all the veterans out there, thank you for your service and sacrifice. You are appreciated by so many for so much.
Be safe and be well.