Monday, November 11, 2013, we observe Veterans Day here in the United States. This special holiday was originally authorized to commemorate the end of World War I hostilities, which took place on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. This day was designated as “Armistice Day” by then President, Woodrow Wilson. After World War II this now official national holiday was designated “Veterans Day” in order to honor all who have served in the Armed Services.
Contrary to popular belief, Veterans Day is not intended to honor only those who have died after service to our country, but rather, all veterans living and dead. This is one of the reasons why we observe Memorial Day in May to honor our dead and Veterans Day in November to honor all veterans living and dead.
This is our chance to thank those who gave of themselves and their families and loved ones in order to serve our country. Far too many have provided this outstanding service on our behalf. Indeed, as we enter the 10th year of our longest war, we can count so many, many younger veterans to thank along with our older vets. Those are the men and women who served our country through the litany of wars. They join our oldest veterans group, our World War II veterans, who now die at the rate of about a thousand a day. Many of us have family and friends who have given of themselves, often under extraordinary circumstances.
On Monday, November 11, we’ve got a chance to thank all who have served and all who continue to serve. Yes, they are veterans too, you know. The commitment of our special group of citizens to protect and serve our nation is extraordinary. Let’s remember they face the day-to-day challenges as we all do, but they also answered the call to do more for their country with their personal service and sacrifices. These people are not the war, they are the warriors; and we must never forget that while we hate war, we love our warriors and owe them a great debt.
We hope that you will make an effort—a special effort—to find at least one veteran whom you know and give them heartfelt thanks. They will probably be embarrassed and feel undeserving, but we know better. We can never thank them enough for what they’ve done for us. Please take advantage of this opportunity to let these special citizens know they are very special to us and that we will always remember their service. We urge all of you to look for opportunities to participate in Veterans Day observances in your communities on this, one of our most endearing holidays.