Sunday, November 11, 2007

Be sure to thank someone for your freedom today...

And tomorrow (since quite a few people get the day off to do whatever).
I'm borrowing this from Sgt Grit's newsletter this week. I think it's perfect for the day.

As commander of our VFW Post, I was requested to give a little speech for this Veterans Day. My thought was that I would pull from my personal experiences.
I looked back upon the 23 years in the Corps and I think that one instance stands out for me. I was on recruiting duty assigned to my home town of Houston, Texas and later transferred to Galveston, Texas to replace a retiring Marine. I was on duty for one day at my new location in Galveston when I received a phone call from a Sister Angelina at one of the local Catholic schools. She asked if I could come out the next day and give a talk on Veterans Day. Of course I accepted without a thought.
Going back to recruiting school, we had to memorize canned speeches for different occasions that we may have to give during our tour in recruiting.
I started thinking, what would be appropriate for a junior high class, what would get their attention and at the same time be informative.
I broke out the books and somehow I just didn't think any of the speeches that we had to learn would get across what I wanted to say. I did a little research on Veteran's Day and below is what I presented to that group of students.
On this upcoming Veterans Day, I think that we as a nation should look back and re-instate the meaning of Veterans Day and what it means to each of us.
Let us take a trip back in time and look at how Veterans Day was originated and why.
World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919 with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The actual fighting between the Allies and Germany, however, had ended seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. Armistice Day, as November 11 became known, officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926 and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. Veterans.
In 1968, new legislation changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans.Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date.
What is a veteran. Where do they come from. What is the significance of making a national holiday in remembrance of this group of people. I will try to explain my views of what a veteran is and why the deserve this day set fourth back in 1926. Webster describes a veteran as a former member of the armed services.Somehow, to me, that answer is incomplete. It describes a job, but what is a veteran as a person.
If you had to describe a veteran, it would be very difficult. They did not just appear in a cloud of smoke as perhaps a magicians trick. Neither are they a highly specialized people, but they are a special people. Throughout the years in our nations history, these men and women stepped up to serve their nations call. A veteran could be a rancher from Texas, a school teacher from New York or a farmer from Iowa. If you were to see a veteran walking down the street, how could you identify this person. If he or she was in uniform, the identification would be easy, however, if this person was not in uniform, what then. It would be almost impossible to identify these individuals as they could very easily be your grand father, father, mother, brother or sister. This veteran could even be the paper boy that used to deliver your paper to you. One thing for sure, they would be walking very proudly in the knowledge that they are a member of a very elite organization. An organization that sets them apart from their neighbors and families of whom they have sworn to protect.
What I am saying is that a veteran is no different than any other person you may see walking down the street, but these men and women are very special indeed. When their nation called, these men and women stood up to answer their nations call. They left their jobs, homes, families, their secure position in life to honor their nations commitment and possibly put themselves in harms way. This is the creed of the veteran, to serve their country in time of peace and sometimes in war to protect its nations borders against danger both foreign and domestic.
Therefore, on this upcoming Veterans Day, it is only fitting and proper that we remember why Veterans Day was originated and why. Throughout the years from the American Revolution to the present, there have been men and women of all races, religions and life styles answer their countries call.
There will always be this special group of men and women to step forward when needed.
We should therefore, honor all veterans both past and present, both having served and still serving in the Armed Forces of the United States throughout the world.
We should also offer a prayer for those in foreign lands and in harms way that they return to their loved ones safely.
I will close this with this small comment:
All Gave Some....Some Gave All
Needless to say, I received a standing ovation. Later we saluted the flags with the Pledge of Allegiance and following that, we said the Lords Prayer.
It would be an honor if you were to print this in your newsletter in remembrance for all veterans both living and passed on. "
Freedom IS NOT Free "
GySgt Robert Eastmade (USMC Ret)
VFW Post 981
Arlington Heights, IL

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