A century ago, on Nov. 11, 1918, Peace broke out across France and Belgium. At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the guns were finally silent.
After the first “Armistice Day,” Nov. 11 was a day where Americans gave recognition to returning World War I veterans. Following the Second World War and a UN ‘Police Action’ in Korea, the observance was renamed “Veterans Day” in 1954.
Every Veterans Day, we give thanks and honor to our veterans — whether they served in Europe, North Africa, the Pacific, the cold hills of Korea or a military base stateside. On that day, we also give thanks to our veterans who fought and continue to fight in the mountains of Afghanistan, and who served in the deserts of Kuwait and Iraq.
But the “Greatest Generation” and Post 9-11 veterans have brothers and sisters in arms that we have forgotten: The Vietnam Vet. The 50th and 40th anniversary of the beginning and end of the Vietnam War have come and gone. But we as a nation have not done our part to recognize and honor the thousands of men and women put their lives on the line in the humid jungles, rivers and fire bases of that divided country. Many Vietnam veterans came home to protest and disdain, or were ignored. This Nov. 11 is a day to begin to undo that injustice.
No matter how complex the mission, or how difficult the task and terrain, our military service men and women and their families have answered our nation’s call. And from every background, every creed, color and orientation – all have stepped up to serve, protect and defend our nation and our Constitution.
Isn’t it time we honored their sacrifice? Even a small thing helps. If you have a family member or a friend who is a veteran, listen to their story. And if you know a veteran that needs help, lend them a hand. If you have a job applicant who is a veteran, hire them. When you cast your ballot, vote for a candidate that will work hard to increase veteran’s benefits and heath care. When you see a veteran, thank them.
They stood up for us. Every day, we need to stand up for them.
With family members that served in both World Wars in the British Army, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army, William Shaw is a fourth-generation Eastsider and is a general manager at Sound Publishing.
See the calendar on Page 2 for local events.
For veterans assistance, contact:
Washington Department of Veteran’s Affairs: dva.wa.gov
National VFW website – with a state/city post locator: www.vfw.org
Washington Legion website – with a city post locator: www.walegion.org