Today is Veteran’s Day. You might have gotten yesterday off work, but today is the actual day. Veteran’s Day, originally called Armistice Day, was first celebrated in 1919, to celebrate the end of World War I, which happened on “the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” one year earlier.
They called that one “The Great War” and “The War to End All Wars.” One hundred years later, we know that unfortunately wars did not end back then. In fact, the spectre of war is with us as much today as it was one hundred years ago, despite all our peacemaking efforts.
Wars are declared by people in power, but they’re fought by average, everyday folks. Five generations of soldiers have fought since the first Armistice Day and some fight today for our values all over the world. They put themselves in harm’s way so that we may do things like blog and rest and stream videos. That’s a pretty awesome thing if you think about it — incredibly selfless.
In the long-ago past of my youth, Veteran’s Day was celebrated with parades, when old men and young squeezed themselves into ancient uniforms and walked the streets of their hometown to cheers. That practice has disappeared from many cities, partially due to the large number of unpopular and unsupported wars in the last fifty years. But it’s important to realize that the soldiers themselves weren’t our enemy, and certainly they didn’t decide to go overseas to fight. They did what was right and they deserve our thanks.
Chances are as you go about your day today you’ll see a lot of veterans. Sadly, some might be on the side of the road or panhandling in front of stores. Some will be standing proudly as veterans always have, but most will just look like “regular folks” who show no outward sign of how heroic they have been. So, maybe today is a great day to be just a little kinder to everyone you see. Who knows, maybe they’re part of what’s kept our country free for over 240 years.