Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day as it was the end of World War One: on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. When World War I, named the “war to end all wars”, didn’t live up to its nickname, the holiday was renamed. The soldiers who fought in World War I, just as the soldiers who have fought in any war before and since, served because they believed they were doing their small part to create a better world.
I served in the armed forces of this great country for twenty years. If I could, I would do it again. I, like many others, served as an enlisted soldier. Not all of us enlisted for the same reasons. Some enlisted for the benefits, and educational opportunities. I enlisted to see the world, to experience a different lifestyle and from a desire to serve to my country. While I was growing up during the Vietnam era, the country was incredibly polarized, like today. Everyone was either for or against the war. I was against it, but if we had to fight, I wanted to do my share. Regardless of our personal reasons for signing up, we all wanted to do something bigger than ourselves.
The military, like our country, is a collection of individuals from different backgrounds joined for a common purpose. Though we didn’t always agree, and at times didn’t like each other much, I was blessed to serve with some of the best people on earth. I hope and pray that our service members today can say the same.
While today we honor the sacrifices of our veterans, who have given so much to their country, it is important to remember that as citizens, we all have great opportunity to serve our country in our own fashion. I recently wrote a novel about about people from different background coming together to do their small part in creating a better world. It is a truly American story. I invite you to check it out.
To my brother and sister veterans out there, today is our day! Keep your heads high! If you’re in a combat zone, keep your head down, and stay safe.