Ours is not a philosophy for getting by. We believe in living with purpose. We believe in values, in goals, in achievement, and in the joy of living.
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"The Great War" officially ended on November 11, 1918. In 1919 President Wilson declared November 11 of that year to be the first commemoration of Armistice Day.
As a child in the early part of the 1950's, I watched my dad march down Main Street in Russell, Kansas with the U.S Army Reserve unit of which he was a member. (Following four and a half years of service in WWII, he had enlisted in the Army Reserve as a Master Sergeant, and was subsequently returned to his former rank of CWO-3. He served until 1964.)
In 1954, the Congress and President Eisenhower changed the name of the November 11 holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans' Day. Ike's first Veterans' Day proclamation read in part, "In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose." November 11 became a national holiday dedicated to all those who have served in our nation's armed forces.
Then from 1971 until 1977, the Veterans' Day holiday was changed to a Monday, so that federal government workers could enjoy a 3-day weekend. Americans were appropriately scornful of the change, and since 1978, Veterans Day has been celebrated on November 11, as it should be.
I was sitting at home alone last night in front of my computer, wondering what to write in celebration of Veterans' Day this year. I thought back to last month when I saw my old friend Bill Buchheister, who had earned a Silver Star in Vietnam.
Then I thought about other friends, who deserve at least as much, but who died in Vietnam, their courage mostly unnoticed. So, this is for them:
Gary Lee "Bugs" Binder (06 Dec 1946 - 13 Oct 1967)
Jerome Albert "Jerry" Long (27 Mar 1947 - 4 Dec 1968)
Olis Ray "Ricky" Rigby (16 Aug 1948 - 21 Nov 1967)
Robert Lee "Bobby" Urban (03 Nov 1948 - 08 Oct 1968)
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
- John McCrae (1872 - 1918)
Our friends and loved ones who serve in America's armed forces, have always had the right to expect that we will not go to war except in the defense of freedom; and that when we do go to war, we will go to win. Until next week,
PATIENCE, DISCIPLINE, CONFIDENCE in the FUTURE! mh