November 11, 2017

Friday marked the 242nd birthday of the United States Marine Corps, and there were observances nationwide, both to celebrate the founding of America’s first marine force of the Revolutionary War, the Continental Marines, on November 10th, 1775, and to remember all the Marines throughout history who gave their lives defending America, our allies and countless victims of tyranny and oppression worldwide.

And of course, today, November 11th is Veterans Day. Memorial Day is reserved for those veterans who died in the line of duty, but Veterans Day is a time 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?

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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, 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 (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?”)

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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 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.

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There is nothing partisan about supporting our veterans. No matter where you are on the political spectrum, your rights are protected by them. Today, fewer than 0.5% of the US population currently serve, and just over 7% have ever served. That means very few among us 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. It is simply 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.

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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 start to erode a bit, as self-proclaimed activists have started putting their personal crusades ahead of the most basic common traditions that show respect for America and its veterans. A sign I saw this week pretty much summed up my feelings—it simply said: “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 provide 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, by attending a parade or other formal 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.”

Better yet, do all of the above. And not just on Veterans Day, but all year ‘round.


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Comments 1-50 of 80

  • Connie L. Bickel

    11/16/2017 11:44 PM

    On the 9/11 attack, we had 3 grandchildren in the service, Marine, Army & Air Force, plus my husband had been in the Army during Korea.
    Thank you to them and all the others who serve.

  • lee schaeffer

    11/12/2017 06:00 PM

    ABBA FATHER we, YOUR children thank and praise YOU for giving us all the people who served, are serving and will serve in the American military! We pray for YOU to bless all of them and their families! We appreciate each of them and give them a loud shout of honor for their service! We pray in our LORD CHRIST JESUS' HOLY NAME! AMEN!

  • Tim Morrison

    11/12/2017 03:12 PM

    Proud to be the son of one of the "greatest generation" a WWII vet. Honored to know many a veteran of several generations and conflicts. God bless 'em and I thank them for their service!

  • Carol & Bill Barrows

    11/12/2017 08:46 AM

    We will always be grateful for those who have served and those who do now. Too many take our freedoms for granted. God Bless you all and God Bless America!!

  • victor rodriguez

    11/12/2017 02:55 AM

    Happy Veterans Day everybody

  • Shirley Hudgens

    11/12/2017 12:39 AM

    Thank You to all of those that came before us and a big Thank You to all of you serving now. God Bless and keep you safe.

  • Beth

    11/12/2017 12:12 AM

    GOD Bless America and the troops that serve her past and present.

  • Frank Rivaldo

    11/11/2017 11:03 PM

    We thank our military men and women past and present, for their service to our country and their willingness to put themselves in harms way so that we can continue to enjoy the freedoms we have in this nation. God Bless each and everyone of you, and may God continue to watch over you and your families.

  • Samuel Smith

    11/11/2017 11:02 PM


  • Susan Perez

    11/11/2017 08:37 PM

    Thank you to our veterans for defending the United States Constitution. I pray you receive the appreciation and respect you deserve after serving our country.

  • Jane Canfield

    11/11/2017 08:31 PM

    I thank God for all the men and women who have served our country and myself to keep our nation free. We are so fortunate to live in such a great nation and I pray for strong leadership in this country to keep our military strong in such perilous times as we live in. I am thankful that my husband-to-be came back from Viet Nam to finally be recognized in a positive manner which all of our veterans are due...
    Thanks Mike for articulating this so well in your article!

  • Sarah Buntin

    11/11/2017 08:05 PM

    Thank You, to ALL the Veterans who have so Bravely Served Our Great Country, The United States of America. We Appreciate you for our Freedoms, more than You will ever Know. We declare the Words of God, the 91st Psalm over Each and Every Veteran, Past Veterans and Present Veterans. God Bless Each and Everyone of You. Greater Love has no man than this, than to lay down one's life for his Friends. John 15:13 You are Our Hero's

  • James Case

    11/11/2017 07:25 PM

    God Bless you for serving our country and the sacrifices you made to preserve our freedom. We are very grateful for you.

  • Margie Holman

    11/11/2017 07:00 PM

    Thank you for your service and thank you for all the sacrifices that your families have made because of it.

  • Lynda Townsend

    11/11/2017 06:26 PM

    I would like to thank everyone who has worn the uniform in service to our country. Thank you for all sacrifices made to keep us a free country. Its such a shame to see how so many of you struggle when you give up so much to serve. A veteran should never have to wait on medical treatment or accept sub-standard care. This is one citizen who would pay extra taxes on long deserved improvement in this area! Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!!

  • Carol Head

    11/11/2017 06:01 PM

    Thank you governorHuckabee! Remembering veterans and active duty personnel should be one of our highest priorities! My husband was a navy veteran. I am too and our oldest daughterbelong to that group too. Now our son-in-law and grandson are active duty Army and Marine Corps respectively. God bless all our veterans and active duty people! Your comments are so much appreciated. I would like to see the USA return to mandatory service by all men and women as soon as they graduate high school. Very much like Israel does. I believe then much of this disrespect would stop because more would understand what it really costs to maintain this as the land of the free and the home of the brave. God bless you governor.

  • Janet Gilmour

    11/11/2017 05:31 PM

    Thank you for serving our country. God bless you!

  • Rose Howell

    11/11/2017 05:13 PM

    It would be wonderful if a military was not needed but that is not the case.
    Oppression needs to be fought all over the earth on innocent people.
    God please Bless all of our vets and all serving now and forever.

  • Emmitt Luttrell

    11/11/2017 04:44 PM

    For my Freedom, I Thank a Veteran and for being able to read this message, I Thank a Teacher.

  • Heather Somers

    11/11/2017 04:24 PM

    May God richly bless all those who have stepped up to serve.

  • Dawn Street

    11/11/2017 04:00 PM

    My family has had men who served in every war the USA fought since the beginning, I mean the French and Indian War. God blessed us in that my direct line of grandfathers all came home otherwise I would not be here. My Father narrowly escaped death several times when fighting in the South Pacific. He was a paratrooper with the 503rd Army Air Corp and would have been part of the invasion in 1945 except that Japan surrendered (and that was the headline on my birthday). My Grandfather was a part of the Rainbow Division (men from every state in the USA, unlike the old militias recruited locally, trained locally and deployed together and dying together to dessimate the gene pool). I have 3 children serving: 1 in Navy Reserves, 2 in active duty Air Force.

  • JoAn Petersen

    11/11/2017 03:37 PM

    To all our veterans and their families, deep thanks and appreciation for displaying the honor and courage of service. We citizens are forever indebted to you. Your commitment is the strength that keeps this country going. Thank you.

  • Joe Analco

    11/11/2017 03:24 PM

    ????A moment of prayer for the Freedom we all share ????: Our flag does not fly and wave over our nation of freedom because of the wind; It flies by the last breath of each soldiers that died protecting it!"??
    1967 - 1971 USMC - SEMPER FI????

  • Clifford Hanks

    11/11/2017 03:19 PM

    Thank you sir. I gave this information to all my children and grandchildren.

  • Ferris Brown

    11/11/2017 02:44 PM

    Thank you!

  • Bill Jenkins

    11/11/2017 02:36 PM

    To every person who wears the uniform of the United States of America, THANK YOU GOD BLESS YOU. To the families who grieve over the loss of a loved one my Prayers are with you. To the jackasses in the NFL who kneel at the playing of the national anthem SHAME ON YOU. Your shameless protest spits on our flag and every Veteran.

  • Maria Ray

    11/11/2017 02:32 PM

    Happy Veteran's Day!
    Thank you so much for your service and thank you so, so much for keeping us safe! GOD BLESS YOU!

  • dave johnson

    11/11/2017 02:24 PM

    You write well, Mr. Huckabee, and I think you have a fair and balanced view of life and our most fragmented society. I hope you can keep working for many years.

  • Leslie Clemmer

    11/11/2017 02:23 PM

    My ex husband was a Marine corps officer who served 30 years until June 2001...we made many sacrifices as a family...but I enjoyed our 18 tours and I have many great memories even though we are not married today..
    Semper fi!!!!
    To God be the Glory!!

  • Bob and Lynda Hathcock

    11/11/2017 02:05 PM

    Dear Veterans
    We can not tell you how grateful we are for your service to this great country. Many of you have given so much we can never express our appreciation, but let us just begin by saying "thank you". You have shown what it really means to serve our country. We have not forgotten what you have done and continue to do. May Gods richest blessing be yours.
    Bob and Lynda

  • Ann Johnson

    11/11/2017 01:21 PM

    To every man and woman who has served in the armed forces, thank you for your dedication and sacrifice for our country. May God bless you and your families and may our country always honor and cherish you.

  • George Curl

    11/11/2017 01:21 PM

    Thanks Governor. It was my pleasure to serve my country during a very unpopular conflict. I'd do it again in a heart beat. My two sons are currently on active duty and it gives me great pleasure to see the public's thank them for their service. Thank you for all you do, Governor. It means a lot to so many of us.

  • Enswida Roflox-Musci

    11/11/2017 01:20 PM

    My deepest honor and thanks to all men and women who served in our military who fought for our freedom that we all enjoy today. God bless our veterans and our nation.

  • Ron and Nadine Hatlewick

    11/11/2017 01:10 PM

    We are so thankful and proud of your service! It will not be forgotten or compromised by thoughtless activists!!
    We love our country and our flag and our National Anthem! Your service was worth it and we praise you for it! God bless and watch over you!! We love you!

  • Jeanne Bullock

    11/11/2017 01:07 PM

    God Bless you and your gift to all of us . I know the price of freedom. My father died serving our Country and my husband is a Vet.
    May Jesus hold you close to His heart.

  • R. Pouliotte

    11/11/2017 12:36 PM

    As the mother of a U.S.Marine and USAF staff sergeant who served in Iraq, I wish to publicly say how proud of him I am. That pride extends to all members of the military who have served with pride and fidelity to core values. They are America's real heroes. God bless them, one and all.

  • Joseph W Lucero MD

    11/11/2017 12:21 PM

    The solution for the chronically dysfunctional government-run VA Healthcare System's failure to fulfill its own Mission Statement to care for America's Veterans "who have borne the battle, and their widows and orphans" is to shift the entire program to a "G.I. Bill For Healthcare" stipend system with which ELIGIBLE military retirees and Veterans with service-connected injuries can pay for full coverage family health insurance premiums for unfettered access to the best healthcare systems in the world (read: Kaiser-Permanente, Mayo Clinic, United Healthcare, etc.) of THEIR choice. This would be similar to the hugely successful Veterans Educational Assistance Program ("G.I. Bill For Education"), and would provide significantly better care for a much lower financial burden on the taxpayers.
    Those few well-managed VA hospitals that could successfully compete for these now-prized Veteran family patient populations could continue to "serve" them, while the rest of the VA hospitals worldwide should then be razed to the ground or turned over to the Public Health Service as (what they are already) simply non-eligible indigent "care" training facilities for foreign medical school graduates...

  • Judy Daly

    11/11/2017 12:11 PM

    I want to Thank All military men and women who served in our military, past and present. A salute to two of my sons who served during Desert Storm!

  • Samuel H. Balius

    11/11/2017 11:38 AM

    It was a great experience serving in the Marine Corps for 3 years. Part of that tour was WWII. Just a few of us left, but I served next to great guys from all over our country. I trust those in the military forces today realize their country stands behind them strongly!


  • DeAnna DeVille

    11/11/2017 11:28 AM

    Thank you so much for your Veterans Day message. I hope you don't mine but I copied all of it and posted it on my facebook and I made sure that you got the credit for it! I like and you honesty and your integrity and I love your daughter, Sarah, too! GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!
    If you have never watched his broadcast, On Demand, I hope you will soon! Have a wonderful day! And Thank you again!

  • Don Pageler

    11/11/2017 11:17 AM

    Thank you every one who is currently serving in the military and also those who have previously served. God bless every one.

  • Nancy McLellan

    11/11/2017 11:15 AM

    I am so grateful for all the men and women who have served to protect our nation in all generations. I am especially grateful for those who have chosen to go without the draft. These brave people and their families have given so much to save the US and the World from those who seek to destroy us all.

  • John Joseph Jack Walsh

    11/11/2017 11:12 AM

    Proud to have served Petty Officer third Class U.S.. Coast Guard Reserve 1959 to 1970 and
    be among the 7 % who served

  • Barbara Mank

    11/11/2017 10:59 AM

    May God bless all of you who are serving this Country in the military - or who have served at any time. Know that you are appreciated and honored, not only on Veterans Day, but also on every day. Thank you for your service!

  • Johnny Breedlove

    11/11/2017 10:58 AM

    Thank every man and woman that has ever put on the uniform to serve. Everyday would be Veterans Day we should thank those brave men and women every day. Thank you all Happy Veterans Day

  • Linda Tegethoff

    11/11/2017 10:57 AM

    We celebrate all of those who served, especially close family members, and honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Our veterans need and deserve our full support during their service and afterward.

  • Charles James Lance

    11/11/2017 10:55 AM

    Can't get approval for comment.

  • Dennis Sanders

    11/11/2017 10:47 AM

    Praying for all our veterans, thank you for your love of America. God bless

  • Latrecia Cartwright

    11/11/2017 10:45 AM

    I also wish to thank all of our veterans. My husband, a disabled Marine Corp Vietnam Veteran who suffers greatly from the effects of agent orange. My son, brother, late brother in law, nephews and nieces who all served hororably. Thank you!

  • Cindy Hill

    11/11/2017 10:35 AM

    May God Richly Bless our Veterans and May We as People of this Great Christian Nation Be Ever Grateful and Bestow Care and Privilege Upon Them!!!
    Thank You Mr. Huckabee for Standing and Voicing the TRUTH!!!!