The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is how to honor veterans. The word veteran has several meanings. The most common meaning is a person who has a lot of years of experience in some occupation or skill, such as politics. The meaning of the word for Veterans Day is “a former member of the armed forces.” Yes, every person who has served in the armed forces of the United States deserves to be honored on Veterans Day.
Veterans Day, once known as Armistice Day, was first commemorated to honor the men and women who fought in World War I. It is always commemorated on November 11. The Allies and Germany signed an armistice agreement at 5:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918, stating that the fighting in World War I would end at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. The Great War left “nine million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded.” In addition, at least “five million civilians died from disease, starvation, or exposure.”
Armistice Day was later changed to Veterans Day when veterans of all wars are honored. It will be commemorated tomorrow on November 11, 2019. How will you commemorate it?
Thomas W. Spoehr, a retired Army lieutenant general, is director of the Center for National Defense at The Heritage Foundation, and Jack Penders is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. They posted an article at The Daily Signal titled “How You Can Celebrate Veterans Day the Right Way.”
They gave some interesting statistics about veterans.
There are currently more than 18.2 million veterans in the U.S., making up almost 10% of the entire adult population….
Veterans from the 9/11 era hold an employment rate of approximately 78%, a full 8% higher than the civilian population. Additionally, in 2015 it was shown that veterans’ yearly average income reach $80,000, as compared to only $68,000 among non-veterans…. [While] 1 in 8 young adults in America did not graduate from high school… only 1 in 33 veterans failed to graduate.
Veterans vote in local elections at a rate of 73.8%. Non-veterans vote at a rate of only 57.2%. They also put in an average of 177 hours of volunteer work each year, 25% more than the rest of the population.
Most of the young men and young women who enter the armed forces come home and become the leaders and of tomorrow. They bring knowledge, skills, and values from their military lives into their civilians lives, and we are the better for it. However, some of them come home with mental and/or physical injuries. They all deserve to be honored.
Veterans willingly put themselves between the enemy and our homes and families. We owe all those who have sacrificed for us, including their families who are left behind to “hold down the fort” while they are gone. I believe that the best way that we can honor them is to become the type of person who is worthy of their sacrifice. However, there are many other ways that we can show our gratitude to them for their sacrifices. The following ideas were suggested by Spoehr and Penders.
Simply speaking to a service member about their experiences, visiting a VA hospital, or writing to troops deployed overseas are all great ways for citizens to do their part. Participating in the Veterans Day moment of silence, observed for two minutes at 3:11 p.m. Atlantic Standard Time (that’s 11:11 Alaska time) is another simple yet effective way to take part in the day.
World War I was the war to end all wars, but we know that our nation has fought other wars – World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and 9/11 era wars that continue. Our veterans need our gratitude and our service members need our support. We know that they will do their best to be ready to protect our nation no matter the cost in money or lives.