November 11, 2019

Of course, today is Veterans Day. Memorial Day is specifically reserved to honor veterans who died in the line of duty, while Veterans Day is designated to show appreciation for everyone who ever wore the uniform of the Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard, past and present. But do you know the story of how it all began?

Veterans Day was first proclaimed as Armistice Day by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919, to commemorate the official end of World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. Other nations that fought in World War I have their versions of that holiday, such as Remembrance Day. But like the US Marine Corps itself, Veterans Day is something uniquely American.

Armistice Day was observed in the US for a couple of decades, but gradually, as the memory of World War I receded and another World War loomed, Americans began thinking of ways to honor veterans of all the wars who fought to security the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity (as the great military editorial cartoonist Bill Mauldin noted, “If World War I was ‘The War to End All Wars,’ then why did they give it a number?”)

In 1945, WWII veteran Raymond Weeks of Birmingham, Alabama, began a personal crusade to turn Armistice Day into a state holiday honoring all veterans. The idea quickly took hold, and in 1953, an Emporia, Kansas, shoe store owner named Al King took up the torch to make it a national holiday. The Emporia Chamber of Commerce joined his crusade, and the very next year, Emporia-born Congressman Edward Rees introduced a bill to create Veterans Day. It was signed by a President who just happened to be a retired Army man from Kansas himself: Dwight Eisenhower. Proving once again that if you want to get something done fast in Washington, let a military vet from the Midwest handle it

These days, we’re bombarded with media-created heroes, from athletes to pop stars to endless movies filled with comic book superheroes. But they all pale into insignificance beside the real greatest American heroes: the men and women of the United States military, who took on the duty of protecting our freedoms, our homeland and the defenseless around the world. They knew it might require the ultimate sacrifice, but they didn’t turn and run. And since 1973, with the end of the military draft, they’ve not only stepped up to take on that burden and risk, they've done it entirely voluntarily.

There is nothing partisan about supporting our veterans. No matter where you are on the political spectrum, your rights are protected by them. Even the free speech right to shout misguided and slanderous nonsense about the United States military is defended by the United States military.

Today, fewer than 0.5% of the US population currently serve, and just over 7% have ever served. That means a relative handful of Americans have carried the load for the rest of us. When they come home after giving so much for us, you’d think they would be treated like royalty. Sadly, many aren’t. Some veterans return home suffering deep physical and mental wounds, and they deserve the best care possible. Those with scars from their service, whether they be physical or psychological, should never be allowed to “slip through the cracks” in the system. It is intolerable that so many veterans have suffered long waits and lack of attention from the VA system, and that as many as 20 a day commit suicide.

I know the debt is sky-high, and spending needs to be cut. But you don’t slash your top priority. Health care for our veterans should always be top priority, as should correcting the shameful recent lapses on the part of the VA. Anyone in that department who would place protecting the system ahead of protecting veterans needs to find a new career right now – forcibly, if necessary.

Americans haven’t always been as grateful to our veterans as they should be. During the Vietnam era, too many people shamefully transferred their hostility over an unpopular war to those who were sent to fight it. The Reagan era brought a renewed sense of patriotism, pride and gratitude for our armed forces. But in recent years, we’ve seen that gradually erode, as self-proclaimed "social justice warriors" (who would wet their pants at the thought of having to be in a real war) have put their personal crusades ahead of the most basic American traditions that show respect for America, its flag and its veterans. I saw a sign that summed up my feelings well. It read: “A man with a helmet defending our country should make more money than a man with a helmet defending a football.”

If I take a knee, it will never be to disrespect our flag, our National Anthem, or those who fought to safeguard our freedom. It will be in respect and awe of the veterans to whom we owe a debt we can never repay.

Today would be a great day to renew our commitment to placing respect and gratitude for America’s veterans back on top of our priorities lists. You can do that by writing your Congressional Representatives to urge them to support veterans (I suspect some of the newly-elected or empowered ones will need strong reminders), by attending a parade or other civic event, donating to or volunteering for one of the many worthwhile veterans’ aid organizations, picking up the check for someone in uniform at a restaurant, or just telling a veteran or active duty military member you happen to see, “Thank you for your service.”

Leave a Comment

Note: Fields marked with an * are required.

Your Information
Your Comment
BBML accepted!

More Stories

Comments 1-25 of 37

  • Jay Mainthia

    11/13/2019 04:16 PM

    Excellent reminder to all of us Americans.

  • Linda Radosevich

    11/12/2019 10:12 PM

    I'm in the baby-boomer generation, the generation that sent many young men to Viet Nam. At one of our class reunions a number of years ago, we asked all the veterans to stand, and we thanked them for their service. After dinner, one of those vets came up to me and told me -with tears in his eyes- that THAT was the first time he had ever been thanked for serving his country.

  • Dr JB Spira

    11/12/2019 12:46 PM

    Yes, I know you love music and Armistice Day.

    But, How about giving a phone call to a Benny Goodman 1939 Big Band Singer? She just celebrated her 101st birthday yesterday --Miss Louise Tobin---toured Europe with Louis Armstrong! First spouse Harry James-trumpet
    2nd spouse Peanuts Hucko clarinet with Glenn Miller later Lawrence Welk.
    I've never seen anyone with these credentials on your SHOW!!! Where is the BEST of the Best?
    She's in Dallas living with her granddaughter--Get her on the show--Quality!
    November 11, 1918.

  • Scott McElroy

    11/12/2019 12:20 PM

    Greetings Mike Huckabee,
    You must also be an excellent carpenter, for you always hit the nail firmly on the head!!!!!! Thank you for all you communicate.

  • Sondra M. Todd

    11/12/2019 12:18 PM


  • Anne Hill

    11/12/2019 12:09 PM

    Dear Mr.Huckabee, I enjoy reading what you send every day.As a person who was born in the 1930's,grew up during WW11,had brothers who served in the military,and married a man who was in the U.S.Navy,and served in the Pacific theater during this conflict,I truly feel that the military draft should be reactivated.Aside from the main reason for it's existence,which would be protection of our Nation,I feel it would be good training for many of our Nation's young people who do not work,nor go to school,to take an active role in our Nation's future.I would be interested in what your feeling about this would be.

  • Carla Walrath

    11/12/2019 11:05 AM

    Bravo! Well said!

  • Leo Draegert

    11/12/2019 10:34 AM

    Thank you Sir!

  • chuck hildebrand

    11/12/2019 09:57 AM

    Why was Vietnam an "unpopular war"?Could it be because of the medias influence?No war should be "popular".War should be the absolute last resort when all other efforts have failed,And when war IS fought,it should be fought as an all out commitment,with determination to win.No,I'm not a military vet,but I am a Merchant Marine Officer,and an Air Force brat.My dad served in Nam in the early years,and served during the 'cold war'.

  • Glenn Hyatt

    11/12/2019 09:18 AM

    Thanks from a Vietnam Vet. 1969-1970

  • Vickie Fiorentino

    11/12/2019 07:11 AM

    Loved the articel; I, myself, did not serve, but was raised by an Army & Navy Vet, sister sot Airforce, widowed Army, mother to a Retired Naval Officer, and married to an Army Vet, and had a Vietnam Vet uncle. I love and respect all those who served and tell them so when I see their hats when out and about...the VA, I give pause when I enter as there are so many. I do however, whish that we didn't have to police the world...that other countries would step up and send THEIR people, and pay their bill to us for doing so. Our Veterans DESERVE honor and respect.

  • Shelley Jordan

    11/12/2019 12:23 AM

    I completely agree! Amen!

  • Amelia Little

    11/11/2019 10:15 PM

    I'm glad to be an American, and appreciate each and every veteran for their contribution to keep our country free!!! There were a lot of really nice Veteran's Day memes on fb the last several days. I'm glad to say that, on my news feed, there are memes in support of the military and veterans all through the year. It's good to know people who are grateful year round for all they do.

  • David Monson

    11/11/2019 09:56 PM

    And thank YOU for your service. our Country is and will always be the Best in the World.

    David C. Monson
    MSgt, USAF Ret.

  • Ron Hyink

    11/11/2019 09:37 PM

    Thank you, Governor, for this beautiful tribute. As a retired military veteran, I am proud to be part of the 7% of those "who have ever served." But I gotta tell ya, I never got shot at, as my "war" was the Cold War - the real military heros are those who have gone into harm's way. For those who think socialism for this country is such a great idea, I wish they had had the opportunity to gaze over the Berlin Wall, as I did when I was stationed there twice, and had seen the end result of where that idea leads. The other side of the wall was dark and gloomy with windows boarded up and no activity on the street. And then turning around to the side of freedom, it was bright and vibrant and full of life. That freedom came at the cost of those heros. Socialism has a cost too, and that's the cost of freedom. Too bad so many politicians would rather serve themselves than serve those who elected them.

  • Harry W. Sylvester

    11/11/2019 09:34 PM

    Thank you very much Mr. Huckabee, for your thoughts and time you put in writing this very thoughtful article. I am a Navy Vet, proudly served our Great Country for 22 years. Today should be a day to Honer those who served, and are serving on Active Duty with Honor and Respect! I am Very proud to tell you, that my Daughter served in the USAF for 4 years, she is now attending a 4 year collage program to be a school counselor. May God always Bless you and your family.

  • Robert F. Dimlich

    11/11/2019 09:06 PM

    Yes, our military deserves our respect and care that they need. May God bless those who have faithfully service our country.

  • Anita Mae Barker

    11/11/2019 08:52 PM

    I totally agree with you, Mike.
    Blessings on you.

  • Peggy S Nelson

    11/11/2019 08:32 PM

    Thanks for writing about remembering our veterans. Sadly many do not see the need. If they could have one glimpse of life without our veterans they might wake up and see our need.

  • Ed Wiiliar

    11/11/2019 08:10 PM

    AMEN, Governor!

  • Moses Tracy

    11/11/2019 07:57 PM

    Dear Mike,

    Really nice, true, and important words regarding our American veterans. They are our true heroes, as well as our God fearing police and firemen.

  • Andy Richardson

    11/11/2019 07:42 PM

    Hey Gov Huck
    What’s your take on Lt Col Vindman not following chain of command on his snitching. Did he also give aid to Ukraine? Coup News Network (CNN) is getting worst if possible.

  • Barbara Pentz

    11/11/2019 07:41 PM

    So very well said. God bless each and every one of our men and women who have ever served our country so bravely, as well as all those currently serving. Thank you, sir.

  • Dusty

    11/11/2019 07:39 PM

    Gov what a very nice tribute to our wonderful men and women who defend us and the world? Should not all defend this country and serve in our military in some way? Not fair that only a few give their lives and many lose their limbs when trying to protect us all and the rest of the WORLD? Talk of the draft and maybe this is where it is time to go again to be fair. Sad when we have now such a divided Govt and how terrible that so few have had to give us this freedom where we attack per our liberal media and lies are written to take control like Russia and the Mueller report ? WHY?


    11/11/2019 07:36 PM

    In regard to your last paragraph, I suggest we implement a universal draft for public service.

    Everyone I have spoken to about this have either rejected it completely or told me no politician would suggest it.

    I am serious about this and am looking for anyone to help champion the cause.