Today is set aside to honor all those who have served our nation, both those that lived and those that, in Abraham Lincoln’s words, “gave the last full measure of devotion.”
Originally, November 11th was known as Armistice Day. It marked the date the armistice between the Allies and Germany was signed (“The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.”), bringing an end to World War I. It was optimistically called “The War to end all Wars”, yet just two decades later the world would again be plunged into war.
Three of my six uncles served in World War II. Warren was in the Navy, and Monroe (Kip) and my dad were in the Army. Kip was killed in North Africa, and Warren and my dad survived the war.
My dad originally shipped out to California on his way to the Pacific, but at the last minute was transferred to a unit headed for the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. At the time, this seemed like very bad fortune, as the Japanese had invaded the small islands of Attu and Kiska, and many thought this was the beginning of an effort to establish bases from which to disrupt shipping traffic on the Great Circle Route, as well as attack the West Coast of the United States. As it happened, the Japanese never moved beyond the two tiny islands, and my dad was spared actual combat.
This is a good day to remember all of the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces throughout the years who are gone. And for those that are still with us, take the time to thank them.
And do it again tomorrow. Gratitude is not limited to one day a year.
Today’s Fact Cetera
At the end of WWII there were nearly 16 million veterans in America; today, that number stands at just over a million.