Veterans Day falls on November 11 every year. One single day out of every year is designated on our calendars to honor the men and women who have served our country and defended our freedoms.
Yesterday, today and tomorrow, the acknowledgement of the service and sacrifice of our Veterans is an activity that needs more than one day of thanks and celebration.
Every day of the year should be Veterans Day, and that line of thinking is where the idea of the annual Seminole County Veterans Day Parade originated. The parade each year is the least we can do, and we should be doing a whole lot more, every day to honor our veterans.
The holiday originated with the armistice that ended World War I, and in 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower expanded the holiday to honor all who have served in uniform both in war and peace. The focus of this annual commemoration has always been on peace, not war.
Then and now, the day has marked a time for Americans to come together and honor those who have served, pray for the safety of troops now in harm’s way, pray for the consolation and healing of those wounded, and their families, and pray for America and her future.
War weary though Americans may be today, it is important to honor the men and women in the armed forces who have risked their lives to defend our freedoms with discipline, professionalism and gestures of humanity toward civilians, even in the chaos and confusion of the battlefield.
In its soldiers, America finds some of the best of itself, and its defining values distilled in a stronger form than most of us encounter on a daily basis.
Veterans Day celebrates those values and honors the individuals who possess them. Our veterans are our heroes and deserve every recognition, every ceremony and every parade we can offer. And because of that, we should celebrate Veterans Day each and every day of the year.
My father, Leonard Wesley Maxwell, was a veteran of World War II, and I am proud to be the son of a veteran.
I spent many hours listening to his stories and looking at photographs from his days of service. I have sat in amazement as he recalled acts of bravery and selfless dedication to his country. And even though I can only imagine what he went through, I have always made it a top priority to show him and all veterans the utmost respect for what they did to defend, nurture and maintain the freedoms we have in the world that we live today.
Because of him, every day in my house has always been Veterans Day. The American flag flies outside my house every Veterans Day, Memorial Day and 4th of July. I am proud to be an American and I am proud to honor those who have helped to make America great.
My father passed away seven years ago this month, and on Veterans Day, a special American flag will be waving in his memory and in honor of his service.
So, wherever you are at 11 a.m. on November 11th, think about those who have served. If you see them in person, shake their hand – or give them an elbow bump – and let them know how much they and their efforts and sacrifices are appreciated. You don’t have to say much, and you certainly do not have to make a speech to express your appreciation.
Actually, only two words are necessary when you shake the hand of a Veteran – Thank you!
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