Today is a day that I hold in high regards. It is a day that our nation holds close to it's heart to honor those that have served and are currently serving. A day where we show our eternal gratitude.
Many don't know the origins of Veterans Day, or originally called Armistice Day. Every year it falls on November 11th, a date with great significance for on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month an armistice went into effect between the Allied Powers and Germany. This occurred in 1918, which was thought to be the end of a war that many considered was "a war to end all wars." The treaty was not officially signed until June of 1919, but the end of the actual fighting is why November 11th is the official day.
At first Armistice Day was thought to honor those of WWI, however after WWII proved to be one of the greatest mobilizations of man in history, the day was extended to honor all veterans of war. Which is why today, we honor all veterans past and present for the sacrifices they give.
This day is so important to me for many reasons. I am the granddaughter of a World War II veteran... You read that right--granddaughter. My grandpa is an 88--almost 89 year old, and at his age he was in one of the last groups of the draft to be sent over. Even though he was in one of the last groups, what he experienced was nothing short of hell. He was not only in battles, but as the Germans were retreating, he liberated the concentration camps they left behind. Him and the men in his company were in the Battle of Remagen, where he crossed the Ludendorff Bridge into Germany. At the end of the war they occupied Berlin, and were on notice to go to Japan. He always talked about how a bullet grazed his head, so close that it burnt his skin. I only know this because my grandpa would briefly talk about his experience when we turned on the History or Military Channels. Other than that, he has never really talked of WWII.
Today, my grandpa is in a nursing home, like many other WWII vets. His memory has begun to fade. Some days it is good, some days he thinks we are in the past, to even before I was born. What breaks my heart about this is that there are so few WWII veterans left. The members of the Greatest Generation are slowly fading. This is why we have a day like Veterans Day. To make sure we never forget the sacrifices those men, most fresh out of high school made. Their youth and innocence stripped from them. This has happened to many generations after WWII. Korea, Vietnam, The Gulf War and the ongoing wars in the Middle East all have veterans that we cannot forget. Their sacrifice is too great, and when we forget what they did for our freedom, we forget what the cost of freedom truly is.
My grandpa and many other veterans are the reason that when I graduate I want to work with veterans.
The thing I ask of you today is to keep our past and present military men and women and their families in your thoughts in prayers. Veteran's Day is only one day a year, but everyday we should remember the cost of freedom and be thankful there are those willing to serve.
All gave some, some gave all.