“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13
Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, Veterans Day…
commemorated every year on November 11 to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning—the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918.
Remembrance Day (also known as Poppy Day) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth of Nations member states since the end of the First World War to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. The red remembrance poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem In Flanders Fields. These poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their brilliant red color became a symbol for the blood spilled in the war.
When I was a girl, we wore the poppies on our dress or blouse, men in the buttonhole of their shirt or suit jacket. The graves were marked with a paper poppy also. People sold them on the street corners on November 11.
Most countries changed the name of the holiday after World War II, to honor veterans of that and subsequent conflicts. Most member states of the Commonwealth of Nations adopted the name Remembrance Day, while the United States chose All Veterans Day (later shortened to ‘Veterans Day‘) to explicitly honor military veterans, including those participating in other conflicts. “Armistice Day” remains the name of the holiday in France, Belgium, and New Zealand.
No matter what this day is called, it is in honor of all of the military veterans (and their families).
I thank you. Those three words do not tell you just what you mean to me.
You have joined our Armed Services to uphold this country’s freedom and honor. You are a hero to me, no matter what job the military gave you to do or which war you fought or whether you even fought in a war. You are my hero because you are a veteran of the United States Armed Services. I am forever grateful.
My heart is heavy with such thoughts of war upon war, men and women giving their lives, bodies and minds may be less than whole after conflicts, the return home to find that the world looks different after serving in combat. BUT…I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done, are doing, and will be doing.
And I also thank the families, the wives, the children of all of those who served and are serving right now. You have sacrificed much and I thank you.
Can I tell you that “I love you?” I do.
I understand. My Daddy was a career Navy doctor who took doctoring seriously as he served in the Pacific theater in World War II. He became a part of the post-WWII Manhattan Project as the United States continued to test atomic and hydrogen bombs (Daddy served @ Bikini and Eniwetok Islands.) He became Chief of Medicine and later a physician for the Surgeon General and Secretary of the Navy when they traveled. He wrote curricula for the internship and residency programs for new Navy doctors. There is so much more to my father’s military history, yet much will never be known by me as he died of Pancreatic cancer when I was twelve. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
My mother served alongside Daddy, but on the home front. She worked for the Naval Supply Depot in San Diego and Los Angeles, California, during WWII. She served as a Navy doctor’s wife at the various bases we lived. She was the President of the Navy Doctor’s Wives Club in San Diego. Mama was proud to be in the Navy with her mate. She never remarried, raising us three girls alone after Daddy died, and lived to be 98. The Navy and the friends she made were lifelong. Mama is now buried with Daddy at Arlington.
I am a proud daughter of them both and am honored to have them buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
My husband is a Vietnam Veteran who served in combat with the United States Army, 101st Airborne, 1968-69. I am blessed to have this man by my side now although I was not married to him at the time he served.
I stand proud of my heritage and my husband.
And I stand proud of each and every Veteran in this country.
Veterans Day poster @ http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/gallery.asp
“In Flanders Field”: http://highgate-rsl.org.au/remembrance_day.html