I encourage all Americans to set aside time and reflect on the sacrifice of our veterans and those serving today, and honor them accordingly.
On November 11, 1921, an unknown American soldier from World War I was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, in recognition of WWI veterans and in conjunction with the timing of cessation of hostilities at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). President Warren Harding requested that: "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 are the words: "Here lies in honored glory an American soldier know but to God." The day became known as "Armistice Day." In 1954, Congress, wanting to recognize the sacrifice of veterans since WWI, proposed to change Armistice Day to Veterans Day in their honor. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, former Supreme Commander in WWII, signed the legislation.
To honor those veterans who sacrificed all, an Army honor guard from the 3d U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard) keeps day and night vigil at Arlington. At 11 a.m. Tuesday, a combined color guard representing all military service branches executes "Present Arms" at the tomb for the laying of a wreath by the president, followed by "Taps."
More than a million Americans stand ready, or are actively defending our nation today. These men and women were not drafted into service, but volunteered to serve.
It is my honor to have served my country. I Sincerely hope when you see a "VET" or a young man or women in uniform you say "Thank You for your service". Those five simple words will mean more to them than anything you could imagine.
Americqa remains proud and free because American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast-guardsmen have stood bravely in harm's way, and remain on post today. For this, we, the American People, offer our heartfelt gratitude and thanks.
Clearly there is a common theme reflected in the these five branches of the service. They are motivated to serve a cause bigger than themselves. They put their country, and those under their commands, first. They have taken an oath to defend our Constitution not as a formality, but with their lives.
John Stuart Mill 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."
Semper Fi,11/11/08 Buddha Bill, Capt USMC (Ret)