- Veterans Day -
"A tribute of remembrance, honor, and
to all the men and women who defend,
and who have defended, the cause of freedom."
As of July 1, 1997, there were approximately 3,247,975
veterans living in the United States. Nearly 80 of every 100
living veterans served during a period when the U.S. was involved in an
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Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a
missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others
carry the evidence inside them, a pin holding a bone together, a piece
of shrapnel in the leg or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the
soul's alloy forged in the refinery of adversity. Except in parades,
however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or
You can't tell a vet just by looking.
What is a Vet?
A vet is the cop on the beat who spent 6 months in Saudi Arabia sweating
2 gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run
out of fuel.
A vet is the barroom loudmouth whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is
outweighed 100 times in the cosmic scales by 4 hours of bravery near the
A vet is the nurse who fought against futility and went to
sleep sobbing every night for 2 solid years in Da Nang.
A vet is the POW who went away one person and came back another - or
didn't come back at all.
A vet is the Quantico drill instructor that has never seen combat - but
has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and
gang members into soldiers, and teaching them to watch each other's
A vet is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on their ribbons and
medals with a prosthetic hand.
A vet is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals
A vet is the 3 anonymous heroes in the Tomb of the Unknown, whose
presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the
memory of all the anonymous heroes who valor dies unrecognized with them
on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.
A vet is the elder bagging groceries at the supermarket, palsied now and
aggravatingly slow, who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes
all day long that their loving spouse were still alive to hold when the
A vet is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being, a person who
offered some of their life's most vital years in the service of their
country and who sacrificed their ambition so others would not have to
A vet is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and
nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the
finest, greatest nation ever known.
So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country,
just lean over and say, "Thank you." That's all most
people need and
in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been
awarded or were awarded.
- Original Author Unknown -
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"It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has
given us the freedom of
"It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of
"It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the
freedom to demonstrate."
"It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the
and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to
burn the flag."
- Author, Father Dennis O'Brien, USMC -
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A brief history of Veterans Day
In 1918, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in
the eleventh month, the world rejoiced and celebrated. After four
years of bitter war, an armistice was signed. The "war to end
all wars" was over.
In 1921, an unknown World War I American soldier was buried in
Arlington National Cemetery.
Similar ceremonies occurred earlier in England and France,
where an unknown soldier was buried in each nation's highest place
of honor (in England, Westminster Abbey; in France, the Arc de
These memorial gestures all took place on November 11, giving
universal recognition to the celebrated ending of World War I
fighting at 11 a.m..
Armistice Day officially received its name in America in 1926
through a Congressional resolution. It became a national holiday
12 years later by similar Congressional action. If the idealistic
hope had been realized that World War I was "the War to end
all Wars," November 11 might still be called Armistice Day.
But only a few years after the holiday was proclaimed, war broke
out in Europe.
Realizing that peace was equally preserved by veterans of WW II
and Korea, Congress was requested to make this day an occasion to
honor those who have served America in all wars. In 1954 President
Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day.
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Some Veterans Day Links...
of Veterans Affairs - History of Veterans Day
Network - Veterans Day
Marine's Salute - Rebirth of Patriotism
search - "veterans day"