“When we assumed the Soldier, we did not lay aside the Citizen; and we shall most sincerely rejoice with you in the happy hour when the establishment of American Liberty, upon the most firm and solid foundations shall enable us to return to our Private Stations in the bosom of a free, peaceful and happy Country.” —George Washington (1775)
On the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month
We set aside Veterans Day to honor the high price of sacrifice paid by generations of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coastguardsmen. They have carried forward the banner of Liberty since the first shots were fired at Lexington and Concord. Millions of American Patriots have, for generations, honored their oaths "to support and defend" the Liberty that was "endowed by our Creator," and enshrined in our Constitution.
Our national Veterans Day observance originated as Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. The Armistice commemoration was to honor Veterans of World War 1.
On 11 November 1921, an unknown American soldier from World War I was buried in Arlington National Cemetery in the Tomb of the Unknown, in recognition of WWI veterans and in conjunction with the cessation of hostilities at 11 a.m. on 11 November 1918 – the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. This was President Warren Harding’s request: “All … citizens … indulge in a period of silent thanks to God for these … valorous lives and of supplication for His Divine mercy … on our beloved country.”
Inscribed on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are the words, “Here lies in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”
In 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower, former Supreme Allied Commander of World War II, signed legislation formally changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day. Eisenhower wrote, "[L]et us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us re-consecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain."
Of such sacrifice, 19th century philosopher John Stuart Mill, in his essay “The Contest In America,” wrote, “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. A man who has nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance at being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”
It is a disgraceful irony that, to this day, the freedom of "miserable creatures" who [advocate statist tyranny](https://patriotpost.us/alexander/51534-gold-star-moms-v-nfl-kneelers), is ensured by generations of Patriot veterans who have defended Liberty.
Of such Patriots, Gen. Douglas MacArthur said, “My estimate of him was formed on the battlefields many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him then, as I regard him now, as one of the world’s noblest figures; not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless. His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. He needs no eulogy from me, or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy’s breast. But when I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements. ... Duty, honor, country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn."
It is worth remembering the words of Army Veteran Charles M. Province: “It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.”
It is said that a veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to “The United States of America,” for an amount up to and including their life.
As I contemplate the state of national patriotism and gratitude on this Veterans Day, it occurs to me that if we really want thank our veteran military service personnel for our freedom, which they have defended at great cost, we should start by being American citizens worthy of their sacrifice.
As I contemplate the current state of national patriotism on this Veterans Day, I would offer this advice to those who genuinely want to demonstrate their gratitude and thank active duty and veteran military service personnel for the Liberty we enjoy, which they have and continue to defend at great cost: Strive to be, first and foremost, American citizens worthy of their sacrifice.
Indeed, as President Ronald Reagan declared: "Peace fails when we forget what we stand for. It fails when we forget that our republic is based on firm principles, that with them we are the last best hope of man. ... Peace is only maintained and won by those who have clear eyes and brave minds. In memory of those who gave the last full measure of devotion, may our efforts to achieve lasting peace gain strength."
On this Veterans Day, and every day of the year, may God bless our men and women in uniform, who have stood and continue to stand in harm’s way. For their steadfast devotion to duty, honor and country, we, the American people, offer them and their families our humble gratitude and heartfelt thanks. It is with eternal gratitude that we remember those who have paid the ultimate price in service to our nation.
"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends." (John 15:13)
Fellow Patriots, please help us extend our message of Liberty to Americans across our nation. Support our Annual Campaign.
(Recommended Reading: Mark Alexander's essay, The Most Noble of American Patriots. And an editor's note: Because we receive inquiries, Veterans Day has no apostrophe in its official spelling, as the day does not belong to veterans but is rather for honoring them.)