What is a Veteran?
(Attributed to a Marine Corps chaplain, Father Dennis
Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a
missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye.
Others may carry the evidence inside them, a pin holding a bone
together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg - or perhaps another sort of
inner steel: the soul's alloy forged in the refinery of adversity. Except in parades, however the men and women who have
kept America Safe wear no badge or emblem. You can't tell a vet
just by looking.
What is a vet?
A vet is the cop on the beat who spent six months in
Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored
personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.
A vet is the barroom loudmouth, dumber that five
wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred
times in cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th
A vet is the nurse who fought against futility and
went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.
A vet is the POW who went away one person and cam back
another - or didn't come back at all.
A vet is the drill instructor who has never seen
combat - but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account
punks and gang members into marines, airmen, sailors, soldiers and coast
guardsmen, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.
A vet is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his
ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.
A vet is the career quartermaster who watches the
ribbons and medals pass him by.
A vet is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The
Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever
preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies
unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless
A vet is the old guy bagging groceries at the
supermarket - palsied now and aggravatingly slow - who helped liberate a
Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still
alive to hold him when the nightmares come.
A vet is an ordinary and yet extraordinary human
being, a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the
service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would
not have to sacrifice theirs.
A vet is a soldier and a savior and a sword against
the darkness, and he is nothing more that the finest, greatest testimony
on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.
So remember, each time you see someone who has served
our country, just lean over and say, "Thank You." That's all
most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals
they could have been awarded or were awarded.
What we call Veteran's Day is the anniversary of the
signing of the Armistice in the Forest of Campaigned by the Allies and
the Germans in 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month).
This signified the end of World War I and was originally known as
Armistice Day. President Woodrow Wilson signed the Congressional
Resolution on November 11, 1919. The first Armistice Day.
However, after Work War II, the day began to lose
meaning and since there were many other veterans to consider, the
decision was made to change November 11th to honor all those who fought
in American wars. The United States Congress Passed an act to
change the name to Veteran's Day and in 1954 President Dwight Eisenhower
signed the act.