Thursday, November 05, 2009

GUEST COLUMN: "Honoring America’s Veterans"

By State Rep. John Adams

As a Navy veteran, I have always believed that supporting and honoring our nation's veterans is the best display of patriotism. Today, there are approximately 25 million military veterans living in the United States, and Veterans Day on November 11th is the perfect opportunity to show reverence for the sacrifices of our nation's veterans and service members.

Veterans Day, formerly called “Armistice Day,” commemorated the end of World War I on November 11, 1918. It was designated a holiday that was “dedicated to the cause of world peace” and became a day to officially honor veterans of World War I. President Woodrow Wilson broadcasted the importance of Armistice Day in his final national address, proclaiming that “the anniversary of Armistice Day should stir us to great exaltation of spirit because of the proud recollection that it was our day, a day above those early days of that never-to-be-forgotten November.”

Following World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day was renamed “Veterans Day” to honor American veterans of all wars. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed, “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose.”

In continuing the traditions of this holiday, it is important to never take the service and sacrifices of our nation's service members for granted. By being good citizens and being proud of the country that has been built upon the blood and sweat of our nation's veterans, we can ensure that we will never forget the challenges our country has overcome throughout the years. None of what we have accomplished together would be possible without the strength of our military and the bravery of those who have answered the call to duty.

This Veterans Day, I encourage you to proudly fly the American Flag as a symbol of our enduring freedoms and to honor the men and women who have lost their lives defending it. I would like to take a moment to thank all my fellow comrades in arms who have stood in the face of danger, who have put themselves in life-threatening situations to protect their neighbors and loved ones back home. Whether you were storming the beaches of Normandy, fighting in Pacific jungles or traversing the deserts of the Middle East, we all have been brought together by the common threads of patriotism and a love for all that America stands for.