The Korean War Memorial in Washington D.C. reminds us: “Freedom is not free!” Americans have long understood this, and across the generations 42 million men and women — serving as soldiers, sailors, and airmen — have been willing to give their time, talents, and even their lives to protect America and her cherished freedoms. To honor these courageous citizens, November 11, is set aside as Veteran’s Day.
By way of background, following the horrors of World War I, President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11 of 1919 to be “Armistice Day” to celebrate the peace brought about as a result of ending the war. Twenty years later, the federal government made “Armistice Day” a federal holiday, and in 1954, it was renamed to “Veteran’s Day” to honor all who served in the military. Over subsequent years, the day on which it was celebrated varied, but its purpose remained the same: to remember and express appreciation for our veterans.
General George C. Marshall, a famous military leader during World War II, summarized the mission of these warriors when he declared:
“We are determined that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle, our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on the one hand and of overwhelming force on the other.”
This Veteran’s Day, be sure to thank a veteran for their service. Perhaps even take time out of your day to visit some veterans at a local nursing home, where sometimes many have been tragically abandoned or have no family members remaining. And let’s also remember those who sacrificed so much for us across the centuries, from the American Revolution to World War II to the current War on Terror. May we never cease to be thankful — and to express that gratitude — for those who are willing to give so much for the rest of us.