In 1919, United States President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11th as a holiday, Armistice Day. In 1938 Armistice Day became a legal holiday. And in 1954 Congress amended the name, replacing Armistice with Veterans, and it has been know as Veterans Day since.
When I brought up the idea of posting a blog entry on Veterans Day at our managers meeting, everyone thought it was a good idea. And so over the past two weeks or so I have been thinking on what to write about. My thoughts came clear yesterday morning. I won’t keep you long, but I thought it important to recognize this day.
I don’t remember the date or the name. I just remember standing at attention in the hot South Carolina sun for a retirement and retreat ceremony at Shaw Air Force Base. We were honoring a career officer who was retiring after 33 years of service. Thirty-three years, I thought … now that’s dedication.
As the Master of Ceremonies read word after word about this decorated officer, I began to sweat. And later as the sounds of retreat played and the flag was lowered, I began to cry. There’s nothing quite like standing in formation, at attention, with silent tears streaming down your face in the hot setting sun. It was a moving experience for me that day.
So today we say ‘thank you’ to our U.S. military veterans. Thank you for your time in service. Thank you for your dedication, your sacrifices and your service for our country. Today we remember you. Today we honor you.
‘Freedom is not free’, I say. Blood, sweat and tears have been shed for our freedom. So if you know a veteran, call them up today. Shake their hand. Sit and talk for a while. And you will hear the voice of dedication, sacrifice and service.
To all the men and women who have served …