[November 11, 2019] Today is the 101st anniversary of the end of World War I, also known as the Great War. Since that time, military veterans are thanked for their service to the nation and help keep us free from tyranny. Veterans also owe the American people a great sense of gratitude for their opportunity to be part of the greatest institution any free society can build.
Our humbleness is no accident, for each veteran knows in their heart that we are living our dream in the high calling of protecting our country. Only 1 in 4 Americans are currently eligible to join the U.S. military, and that is true for a variety of reasons. Today, less than one percent of the population is part of the military, a small number given such a crucial mission we have.
I will strongly argue that our veterans have a deep-seated moral obligation to acknowledge that we must live up to the perceptions of our society at large. The reason for the obligation is simple. Veterans are afforded a great gift; while much is expected of us, much is rightly required of us in return.
U.S. President Dwight d. Eisenhower said it best many years ago when he issued the First Proclamation on Veterans Day. He wrote that all citizens should remember the sacrifices of those who fought for us that we should recognize the sacred duty of those presently serving to guard this peaceful nation. To do so also means to be respectful and unpretentious in our daily act of wearing the uniform.
“I do hereby call upon all of our citizens to observe Thursday, November 11, 1954, as Veterans Day. On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States, a quote from his proclamation issued Vol. 19, No. 198 of the Federal Register (link here)
The veteran does owe the American people. I believe that our veterans recognize this fact, and that is why we see them throughout our communities, traveling across the nation, and in the news shaking our hands with a smile and a knowing look on their faces. Veterans are privileged to be part of something greater than themselves and part of a nation that honors them.