America pauses today to remember the millions of its sons and daughters who served its causes of liberty and freedom while wearing a military uniform.
Originally caked Armistice Day, the holiday took root after the end of World War I — the war President Woodrow Wilson called the war to end all wars — stopped on the 11th day of the 11 month 1918. The conflict had cost more than 112,000 American lives, and hundreds of thousands more in Europe.
When Congress officially designated the day as a holiday in 1926, its members called for a day of remembrance and “exercises designed to promote peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations …”
The name was changed to Veterans Day in 1954 in a bill designed by President Dwight Eisenhauer, no stranger to wearing a military uniform himself.
Since then, the day has lost a bit of its intent. Americans enjoy the day off work in many cases, and local veterans groups will conduct services to remember those who have served.
Many Americans, however, will go through the day without giving the work and sacrifice of those in uniform.
They won’t think about the commitment of all of these men and women who stepped forward to place themselves in harm’s way — and continue to do so today — in order to protect America’s freedom.
The evidence of their success could be seen Tuesday. Americans selected their leader for the next four years. There were no tanks in the streets, no gunfire in the night. But millions of Americans made their voices heard.
Without the service of those in the military, that would not be possible. We owe them all our unending thanks and gratitude.