Monday was Veterans Day. It always occurs on Nov. 11 in honor of the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918 that signaled the end of World War I.
In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day to commemorate veterans of all wars, but to especially give thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.
There are a number of services and ceremonies taking place around our area to honor and remember those that have served. And while we encourage everyone to attend a service, visit a veteran or thank a veteran and their family, even taking a moment to silently honor veterans is a great way to acknowledge the service and sacrifice of our military personnel.
We are, after all, an area rich in military history and the home of Tyndall Air Force Base and Naval Support Activity-Panama City. And many former enlisted personnel who passed through here during their time of service have chosen to return and make this their home.
American military forces encompass people from all walks of life. Additionally, those people are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. Being an active military person or a veteran means that their family is also involved in their service — dealing with deployments, the danger of the job and the responsibility of keeping the home fires burning in their absence.
There are many sacrifices involved with serving our country, with loss of life being the ultimate sacrifice. In the history of our nation, we've fought many wars and lost hundreds of thousands of loved ones in the name of freedom. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that the threats to the American way of life will go away anytime soon and our military forces are ever vigilant in responding to those threats both domestically and abroad.
As of 2018, there were 18.2 million living veterans in America that have served during at least one war, according to history.com. Nine percent of veterans are women. Of the 16 million Americans that served during World War II, about 496,777 were still alive as of 2018.
Veterans Day is an important holiday in our history and our future. Ideally, at some point no country will need a military presence, but right now that's the stuff of science fiction. Our world is fraught with tension and discord so our military forces are critical for the protection of our borders and our people.
It's not an easy job.
Thank you to all veterans and those that are currently on active duty. You have our appreciation and our prayers for all that you do and the sacrifices it entails.
REPRINTED FROM THE PANAMA CITY NEWS HERALD
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