Today is Veterans Day, and with so much going on in the news, it would be tragic for it to be overshadowed or overlooked. Today is about something far more important than politics. It’s about the men and women who make it possible for us even to enjoy the freedom of having elections and the Constitutional right to protest and seek redress when we think our government isn’t doing right by us.
Memorial Day in May is to honor veterans who gave their lives in defense of America. But Veterans Day is to honor all veterans, living or dead, past and present.
It began as Armistice Day, declared by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919, to commemorate the end of World War I. In 1945, World War II veteran Raymond Weeks of Birmingham, Alabama, began a personal crusade to expand Armistice Day into a state holiday honoring all veterans. In 1953, an Emporia, Kansas, shoe store owner named Al King launched a campaign to make it a national holiday. Just one year later, in 1954, he succeeded. It helped that the President was a retired army general from Kansas named Dwight Eisenhower.
Not only is today Veterans Day, but yesterday was the 246th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. It commemorates the day in 1775 when the Second Continental Congress established the Continental Marines to serve in the war against Great Britain. After the Revolutionary War ended, the Marines were disestablished for a time until President John Adams reestablished the Marines as we know the Corps now, on July 11, 1789. But November 10th, 1775, is still considered the birth of the US Marines.
So if you see someone in uniform, this is a great day to say “Thank you” for protecting America’s freedom. Then again, any day is a great day to do that.