LESSONS LEARNED: Veterans Day 2013

November 11, 2013 at 1:02 am 1 comment

Home is the Sailor

Engineman 1st Class Kevin Ives -- assigned to the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) -- embraces his sons during a homecoming celebration at Naval Base San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Farrington)

Engineman 1st Class Kevin Ives — assigned to the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) — embraces his sons during a homecoming celebration at Naval Base San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Farrington)

Maybe it’s just us, but it seems like more organizations and individuals are making a bigger fuss about Veterans Day this year.

Is it because after a dozen years of war, most American troops will be out of Afghanistan by about this time next year? December 2014 is the deadline for the U.S. and NATO troops to end their combat role in Afghanistan, turning over responsibility for the war-torn country’s security to the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police.

It could also be that with each passing year, more and more World War II veterans – the Greatest Generation – are passing away.

Whatever the reason, there seems to be more commemorations – including a new Medal of Honor stamp – this year, as well as dedications, reunions, parades, receptions, commercial offerings, flags flying and news stories about the heroism of U.S. troops over the past 238 years and the hardships confronting many vets today.

With all that in mind, we decided to include the above photo – which someone on the Pentagon website cleverly headlined “All Hands on Dad” – in this year’s November 11 Blog.

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In May, on Memorial Day, America remembers the honored dead, those who gave their lives in this country’s wars since 1775.

On Veteran’s Day every November, Americans honor the living who served or continue to serve in uniform. Nov. 11 is the anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I – the “War to End All Wars” in 1918. Unfortunately, history has proven that was an overly optimistic term for what turned out to be the First World War.

After years of bloodshed in the 20th and early 21st centuries, we’d like to pause here – through the above photo – to remember the sacrifice of all those who serve their country in both war and peace. Even far from a combat zone, many of them have risky jobs on aircraft carrier decks, in fast moving Humvees and high flying aircraft. There is hard work, as well as danger, in airplane hangars and  ships at sea. Depots and warehouses are stuffed with equipment and supplies that can blow up, burn, sicken or maim the humans working nearby.

It’s also a time to reflect on the sacrifices of veterans’ families who, like the little boys in the photo, suffer the absence of a loved one for months — or longer.

After reading the stories in the links above, we realize that remembering and thanking veterans for their service isn’t enough. We as a nation have to do something to make sure the people who put themselves at risk have a place to live, a job with a decent wage and the healthcare they richly deserve. They did their duty. Now we have to do ours.

More on this in future postings.

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Entry filed under: Lessons Learned, National Security and Defense, News Developments, Photos, Traditions. Tags: , , , .

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