In trenches across France, Belgium, and Germany, United States Doughboys at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 breathed a sigh of relief as the guns on the Western Front fell silent and ‘The War to End all Wars’ or ‘The Great War’ came to an end.
For the United States veterans of World War I, November 11 became known as Armistice Day. And, President Woodrow Wilson stated in his first Armistice Day speech on November 11, 1919, “To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.”
The nation was victorious in World War I because we had time to prepare and mobilize, but the Attack on Pearl Harbor caught the country unprepared.
Yet again, the citizen soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines of the United States stood against tyranny and fought courageously in Europe and the Pacific until Germany and ultimately, Japan finally surrendered on September 2, 1945; ending World War II.
On September 11, 2001, once again America was attacked, and once again the citizen soldiers of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard stood ready to protect the United States against her enemies in the War on Terror.
The citizen soldier Veterans of the United States military have been recognized for their service almost yearly since that first Armistice Day in 1918. And, this civic pride and willing service by everyday citizens in our military helped the United States become one of the most powerful nations in the world. Because in times of crisis, it is the citizen soldier that saw the country through each conflict from the American Revolution through the War on Terror.
As long as United States citizens believe in the cause of freedom, our Nation will be a beacon of light on a dark hill because from the first Continental Soldier in the Revolution through each and every generation of soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, and Coast Guardian have served and sacrificed time, effort, and energy to support and defend the nation in times of peace and times of war.
Everywhere you go not only today, Veterans Day, but everyday, remember to thank each veteran you meet, not only for their service but for everything they sacrifice or have sacrificed to protect the freedoms and liberties that we enjoy.