November 11 is Veteran's Day. On this day, we honor all those, living and deceased, who have joined the Armed Services; not to be confused with Memorial Day, when we honor those who died while serving in the military. In 1919, this day of remembrance historically began as Armistice Day commemorating the day the Treaty of Versailles, following World War I, was signed between the Allies and Germany in November 1918.
Today, we honor all men and women who have promised to uphold the Constitution and protect our nation, even at the cost of their own life. While this is a day to say thanks, we miss the point if we only honor veterans one day a year. Many veterans didn't join the military for renown or gratitude. On the contrary, they bravely serve despite those who oppose them or are indifferent to their sacrifices.
In a way, Veteran's Day is for the rest of us, because they serve for you. This day needn't only be a reminder to veterans for why they signed up or to recount the numerous sacrifices they and their families have made. In fact, the veterans I know, particularly my husband and father, don't even think about themselves on Veteran's day. They remember other veterans, recalling stories of heroes they know and those in service who have gone before them.
On this day, let us take a moment to reflect on what these brave men and women do for us every day. Thank a veteran for his or her service. And perhaps go further: use this day as a personal reminder to live your life honorably and well. Earn the freedom these men and women have protected for us. Live a fulfilling life worthy of their sacrifices.
On this commemoration, I often recall the wartime prayer by Eleanor Roosevelt,
Lest I continue
My complacent way,
Help me to remember that somewhere,
Somehow out there
A man died for me today.
As long as there be war,
I then must
Ask and answer
Am I worth dying for?
Photo via flickr user Chris Wieland
Erin Van de Voorde
Now a Virginia transplant, Erin is a Wisconsonian at heart! After growing up on her family's dairy farm, Erin went on to study Politics. She now works in Washington, D.C. as a project manager. Erin is proud to be the wife of her Marine husband, someone with whom she is always able to exchange ideas.