Next week we will be celebrating the 102nd Armistice/Veterans Day holiday. The holiday started in 1918 as Armistice Day to honor all of the veterans of WWI. In 1954, President Eisenhower changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day, to remember all veterans who have served in all of our wars, from the American Revolution to the present.
It is appropriate to remember those who have served and sacrificed for the freedoms we commonly share as American citizens. These freedoms were won by veterans and codified by the writers of the Constitution with its preamble, its Bill of Rights, and its now 27 Amendments. Every time those freedoms have been threatened, men and women have stepped forward to offer their skills, their love for God and country, and even their lives to maintain, promote and protect them.
It is proper to think of them in these terms, as everyone of them, upon entering the service, swore a solemn oath to protect and defend that Constitution. They have done so for the ideals of freedom that that document represents. That is to say, they chose to serve an idea worthy of human beings. In doing so, they have defended all who live under this idea and those ideals expressed in the Constitution of the United States of America. That, and their courage, skill and commitment on the field of battle, that is the source of their nobility and the reason why we are called each year to remember our veterans. They represent the best of us and it is in their service that we remain free and strong.
Take some time on this coming November 11 to remember those who have served the nation in the uniforms of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard.
This year it will be difficult to attend live events and services because of the nation’s need to participate communally in every effort to get control of the coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping the country and the world again at this time. But you can make a visit with your family to a Veterans Memorial, or veterans cemetery, watch a television documentary on veterans, or talk to your children about the importance of our veterans. If you see a veteran, thank him or her. It is the least we can do for those who stand at the wall to keep our freedoms free and our nation strong.
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.