Veterans day gives us a moment to reflect on and thank the men and women of the armed forces. It shouldn’t be the one day per year we thank these individuals – that should be every day. It is the day set aside on the calendar to make an extra point to show them how much we appreciate the sacrifice that they have made. So often, we confuse Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day. Memorial Day is for those who we have lost, those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Veteran’s Day is for those who are still here. They didn’t make the ultimate sacrifice, but they have made so many other sacrifices, so many more than anyone who hasn’t served can understand, particularly those in active duty over seas or on the front lines of combat.
Here’s a tidbit about Veteran’s Day: it falls on November 11 of every year because at 11 a.m. on 11-11-1918, World War 1 ended with an armistice. While the war itself wasn’t officially over until the signing of the treaty of Versailles, it effectively ended the conflict because the main fighting itself was over. A truly sad little known fact is that even after the ceasefire had been agreed upon, many soldiers died on 11-11-18 as the combatants did not stop fighting until 11 a.m. when the armistice went into effect. That war was at the time the most horrific, bloody, and deadly conflict in human history, surpassed only by the Second World War two decades later. As a result, Armistice Day became a holiday in parts of Europe, and we in America celebrate Veteran’s Day on the 11th as a well.
With the advent of modern war and horrible machines of death like machine guns, tanks, flame throwers, massive artillery, and poison gas, thousands of soldiers returned home maimed and disabled. The sad truth is this is still happening today. Sacrifice for a wounded soldier is not a one-time payment. If follows them physically, and it follows them psychologically. With that in mind, we should all do what we can to help veterans in need, and thank them every day for what they’ve done for us all.