by Ruth Storkel.
Veteran’s Day is a much-cherished holiday; it’s more than a day off work or school. We must take time to thank our valiant military service members who have given so selflessly to our country to secure our freedoms!
Originally, Veteran’s Day was called “Armistice Day.” It was meant to be a reminder to us to strive for peaceful relationships. President Woodrow Wilson, in 1919, proclaimed this Day on the anniversary of the end of World War I, saying: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who have died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory.”
Over the decades, it came to have new significance as worldwide conflicts erupted into war; the United States has fought in about a dozen major wars since our founding in 1776. Over one million have died in battle, the vast majority in the Civil War and World War II.
Thirty-one of our 44 presidents have been service members, risking their lives for our country.
Before his presidency, General George Washington said in 1783: “The unparalleled perseverance of the armies of the United States, through almost every possible suffering and discouragement for the space of eight long years, was little short of a standing miracle.”
President Abraham Lincoln expressed great appreciation to the military, speaking in the Gettysburg Address: “The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated (this ground), far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.”
Bob Hope, the comedian, went to support and entertain our troops in every US conflict from World War II to the Persian Gulf War. He said: “I saw your sons and your husbands, your brothers and your sweethearts. I saw how they worked, played, fought, and lived. I saw some of them die. I saw more courage, more good humor in the face of discomfort, more love in an era of hate, and more devotion to duty than could exist under tyranny” (from his book, “I Never Left Home.”)
While in Vietnam, Chaplain Bob Harrington met a married nurse at a hospital in Saigon; her husband had retired from the Army and gone home to the States. Bob said, “I asked this most dedicated lady, ‘What motivated you to stay over here, thousands of miles from your husband, to take care of men you don’t even know?’ With tears in her eyes, she answered simply, ‘My faith in God and love for my country.’ ” We need a revival of this kind of patriotism and love for our fellow countrymen today!
It is time to pour out our cheers, our gratitude, and appreciation on our Veterans! Do you have a neighbor, relative, or friend who has served our country? How about sending them a card, baking them a pie, writing a letter, making a phone call, or buying them a gift to say “Thank You”? That is the very least we can do!
President Ronald Reagan said, “Veterans know better than anyone else the price of freedom, for they’ve suffered the scars of war. We can offer them no better tribute than to protect what they have won for us.”
Freedom? Yes. We ALL have a responsibility to guard it!
“May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” (Peter Marshall, former Senate Chaplain)
Here at “Gem of the Sound,” we say “THANK YOU” to every veteran, and God bless you!
Listed below are some Veteran’s Day events you can participate in right here in Washington State. (We encourage parents to attend with their children and teach them about what our Veterans have done for the country!)
Walla Walla High School Veteran’s Day Assembly
November 9, 10:25 to 11:25
Heroes Among Us
November 10, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Lynnwood Event Center
3711 196 St. SW, Lynnwood, Wa
Auburn’s 58th Annual Veteran’s Day Parade
Daylong activities: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Parade: 11 a.m.
25 West Main St. Auburn, Washington
Puyallup Veteran’s Day Celebration and Concert
Pioneer Park Pavilion November 12, 2 p.m.
Gig Harbor Veteran’s Day Celebration
At Gig Harbor Antique Air Museum
Tacoma Narrows Airport, 1108 26 Ave. NW
November 11, 11:30-2:30
Veteran’s Day Ceremony Nov. 11, 11 a.m.
Olympia Capitol Rotunda
416 Sid Snyder Ave. SW, Olympia, Wa.
Tacoma- 17th Annual Veteran’s Day Celebration
War Memorial Park, 624 N. Meyer St.
November 11, 11 a.m.
(Sponsored by Tacoma Historical Society)