Veteran’s Day. I believe for most people it’s hard to comprehend what this day really represents.
It’s much more than a great time to pick up something on sale.
It’s much more than a day off work for the government.
It’s much more than parades and celebrations.
Yes, unless you or your family has been directly touched by the military in some way, it’s a day simply to pay lip service to appreciation. After all, how many of us can remember the last time our country’s freedom was directly threatened? How many of us really understand the significance of our military history? Whether you believe war is justified or not, remember those who served in:
World War I “The war to end all wars” was centered in Europe between 1914 and 1918. The causes are too numerous to mention but can be summed up in 4 words: Alliances, Imperialism, Militarism, Nationalism and a stupid act of assassination of an Archduke of Austria-Hungary. The world lost 37 million soldiers and civilians. The United States may have successfully avoided the conflict except for Germany’s submarine warfare that ultimately brought in the west.
All Quiet on the Western Front.
World War II The second global military conflict was fought on two fronts from 1939 to 1945. Hitler was running around unbridled in Europe, and Japan thought it a good idea to bomb a United States naval base in Hawaii. Between the war and the Holocaust, it was the deadliest war in all of history, with between 50 million to more than 70 million deaths.
Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers.
Korean War A war that really wasn’t a war. Yeah, right. Fought between 1950 and 1953, this “military conflict” began over the Korean peninsula. Japan had ruled it from 1910 until the end of World War II when, following their surrender, the peninsula was divided along the 38th Parallel, with United States troops occupying the southern part and Soviet troops occupying the northern part. The north established a communist government and invaded the south. The US came to the aid of the south. What started as a civil war escalated to one between Cold War adversaries, the Soviet Union and communist countries and United States and free allies. When it was all said and done, 4 million soldiers and civilians were dead.
Although it was a comedy sit com, the underlying theme in M*A*S*H represented this time.
Vietnam War The war we all love to hate. It polarized the country politically. Another Cold War military conflict, it spanned from 1965 to 1975 and took 5-6 million lives. While the US viewed the war as a way to prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam, it was part of a larger strategy to contain communism. The North Vietnamese viewed the war as one fought against France and the US, and against South Vietnam, regarded as a US puppet state.
Good Morning Vietnam and The Killing Fields.
The Gulf Wars I’m lumping Iraq and Afghanistan together in this one because it’s still history in the making. We all have our opinions about these wars, but the fact remains that more than 6,000 have already made the ultimate sacrifice.
So before you end your day, please take time to remember and say a thank you to all the service men and women who continue to put their lives on the line…whether it’s directly for your benefit or for someone halfway across the world.
Most don’t ask questions about why, they just do.
It is the Veteran, not the community organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the Veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.