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Honor our veterans today

November 11, 2010

Ninety years ago come today, Armistice Day was celebrated for the first time. Then, as now, there was a great cause for the observation. At that time, World War I had ended just a year earlier and there was hope that “the war to end all wars” would indeed be just that.

Sadly, that was not the case. Time and time again, America’s men and women have been called to duty in defense of their land... in defense of the freedoms our ancestors fought to gain and preserve... in defense of our American way of life.

Today, our armed forces remain embroiled in the war on terrorism, seeking to bring an end to the doctrine of fear.

After World War II and the Korean Conflict ended, then-president Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill in 1954 that changed the name of Armistice Day to Veterans Day and established as the purpose of the holiday the honoring of veterans from every American conflict.

In 1968, Congress passed a law allowing Veterans Day to be celebrated on the fourth Monday of October. Strong emotional protest by veterans and their supporters prompted Congress to change Veterans Day back to its original date of Nov. 11 in 1978.

Veterans Day is a difficult time for many in that they have to deal with the loss of friends and family. Often, the observance brings back harsh memories of times veterans themselves would prefer not to remember.

But for all of us, let us never forget that our freedoms have been fought and paid for many times over through the blood, sweat and tears of millions of American men and women who stepped proudly to the line when called.

Veterans Day is more than a fly over or the playing of Taps or the laying of a wreath on a memorial. It is the time we pause to remember... and to give thanks... to those men and women who serve their country in both war and peace.

As has become tradition, we will pause on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month... and offer our most sincere thanks for sacrifices made yesterday, today and tomorrow.

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