Veterans Day was not always known by that name. This short video by the History Channel will show you how this holiday has undergone many changes over the last 101 years since its beginning on Nov. 11, 1919, when it was established by President Woodrow Wilson in memory of those who had fought during WWI.
Today, we remember all who have served in all of our wars and during times of peace. Service to the nation is and has always been one of the highest honors for those who have served. To serve is to put others before the self.
There is no other action more noble, or more related to the innate dignity of the human person than that of willingly offering one’s self-sacrificing service to others.
To sign up to serve in the uniforms of our Armed Forces, to raise one’s right hand and to take the oath to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” is to offer one’s service to that Constitution and to all those citizens who enjoy the freedoms it enshrines, up to and including the giving of one’s life is an act consistent with the highest forms of human nobility.
That thought was not in most of our minds when we raised our right hands and took that oath. We enlisted for a countless variety of reasons that related to lesser ideals, or more personal reasons at the time. Most of us were not thinking in those exalted terms. In the past many were drafted. It wasn’t their choice, their idea, but they honored the call and they served, most with uncommon valor and dignity.
In either case, what the veteran did was done in service to the whole of the nation, in times of war and in times of peace. Veterans did what others were unable, or even unwilling to do, for the good of the whole.
On this Veterans Day, take a small moment to thank those who served so selflessly to protect the freedoms we all enjoy.
Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.