The Armistias was signed and World War I ended on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month one hundred years ago Sunday. It was said to be the war to end all wars. It certainly did not accomplish that goal.
A group of citizens are raising funds to build a World War I memorial. They are saying no memorial was ever built to honor those who fought, and thousands died in that war. That is not true. I visited the World War I Memorial several years ago and photographed the deplorable condition it had been allowed to become due to neglect and lack of care and maintenance.
In addition to celebrating the end of World War I, we now call September 11 Veterans Day. It is a day to recognize the service of all American veterans of all the armed services who served for any period of time.
Vietnam War Veterans are now a majority of the senior members of most of the veteran organizations. Their service to the community of veterans and their fellow Americans have earned them the respect they have long deserved but never received.
Many veterans of the Gulf wars have an appreciation for Vietnam Veterans, who are resolved that warriors who followed them would never be mistreated as they had been.
Until President Trump got involved, no president or member of Congress gave much more than lip service to the needs of veterans. Not too long-ago older vets were afraid to complain about poor or mistreatment for fear of retaliation. That has now changed due to new personnel policies passed by congress and signed into law by President Trump.
Many times, when we think of veterans, we remember those who have been seriously injured. However, we tend to forget the surviving spouses and children of those who are killed in action.
I frequently think of a young Army Captain I served with in Vietnam who was killed only days before he was to return to the states. He was survived by a wife and two small children. His friends had held a farewell party of a sort for him the evening before he was killed.
As fewer and fewer people serve in the military, there are smaller numbers of Americans who have compassion for those who have sacrificed for their country. It is not their fault. It is not possible to understand the pain of sacrifice if you have not experienced it or known someone well who has.
If we know the spouse of someone who is serving overseas, we should thank them for their sacrifice and offer assistance if appropriate. Since their spouse is a volunteer, they assume no one cares.