I always remember the day we now call Veterans Day with great respect.
I've had ancestors and relatives in the Revolutionary War of the 1700s, the War of 1812, the Black Hawk War, the U.S. Civil War (both sides), the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, the Korean police-action, the Vietnam conflict, Desert Shield, Desert Storm and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Other younger relatives are currently stationed at various points around the globe.
My great-nephew just entered the U.S. Navy, and I thank him for his service to our nation, while I simultaneously pray for his safety and for the safety of other servicemen and servicewomen.
My Dad used to always refer to the holiday by its original name — Armistice Day. The guns fell silent in Europe at 11 minutes past the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year 1918. Will we as citizens remember these facts on 11/11/11 this year? Will we pause and reflect upon the supreme sacrifices and heartaches on both sides of any conflict? I hope so.
We must not only remember our history, but also preserve our heritage. True freedom isn't free. It requires eternal vigilance and a solid backbone on the home front to stand firm to defend what we hold dear.
James A. Marples