The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Originally called Armistice Day to celebrate the end of World War I, November 11th later became known as Veterans Day and its scope was expanded to include all veterans of all wars. It is a day to honor all those who answered their nation’s call, living and dead.
There are no words to sufficiently honor the millions of Americans who have served our country throughout its history. President Lincoln’s words in the Gettysburg Address are perhaps the most appropriate, albeit in a larger context than originally intended:
“But in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Veterans take all forms, but they all share a common trait. When America needed them, they stepped up and said, “Take me.” In serving their country, they forever carry with them the honor that comes from dedicating themselves to a higher purpose, a greater cause. Many have died and many have endured injuries, and all have sacrificed to preserve one of God’s greatest blessings: to live in a country founded on the principles that everyone has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Thanks to our veterans, we have all three.