HONORING OUR VETERANS & THEIR FAMILIES
All of us today have our own idea of what Veteran’s Day is. We know, for example, that it is a day to honor those who have served in any of the military services, fighting for the freedom of our country and our allies. We will all mark its passing by watching the laying of the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on the news. We will take notice of the flags decorating our cemeteries and may actually pause to give silent thanks or to visit a veteran’s grave. Many of us will proudly display the flag of the United States of America on this day.
It is also true that many of us look forward to Veteran’s Day, not as a day to reflect upon our proud soldiers, those who have passed and those who are still with us, but as a day off. It is a National Holiday, so the banks are closed and the mail won’t be delivered. Every major retailer will have a Veteran’s Day Sale, so it’s a good time to start your Christmas shopping, right? The kids may be home from school, so maybe it’s a good day to go miniature golfing or to a movie.
However, do you know the history of Veteran’s Day and why it is a National Holiday? Do you know its deeper meaning? Do you know the solemn feeling that engulfed a whole world at the thought of over 15 million military and civilians dying? Can you picture the celebrations in the streets as first, a cease-fire was enacted, and then finally, seven months later, World War I ended? The U.S. and her 20 allies lost almost six million of their military, with another 12 million wounded. Civilian deaths directly due to military action were almost one million. And then you have the two million people that succumbed to famine and disease. Today, we fight a different kind of war with far fewer casualties due to technology’s impact, but our soldiers still fight for the same thing: FREEDOM. They still die, as do civilians. And they still come home wounded. Their families sacrifice, not their lives, but their way of life in support of those loved ones who have volunteered; yes volunteered, to fight for our freedom.
World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, but the fighting actually ceased seven months earlier on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. In November of 1919, President Wilson first proclaimed November 11th as Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”
So, Armistice Day, which is now Veteran’s Day, is not only in commemoration of our fallen and living military men and women, but should also be a day for reflection. Each and every one of us should show more tolerance, be more open-minded, show good faith towards our fellow human beings; even as we guard against those who consider us their enemies. Our fight should be with those who vilify everything we stand for, NOT with each other, our friends, our countrymen, our allies.
Every one of us here at Garden Harvest Supply has either served in the military or has known and cared for someone who has. Our military honor plaques are displayed prominently, a gentle, but constant reminder of those who protect what is most valuable to us. It is a matter of pride that encourages us to decorate our gardens and yards with these amazing plaques. Won’t you join us?
Happy Veterans Day 2011