Lynn and I were able to visit Gettysburg for a short time on our way home from Pennsylvania last July. It was a bright and sunny day, but you can’t help but feel somber thinking about what occurred there. Over a brutal three-day battle, the two sides suffered more than 46,000 casualties and it’s said Gettysburg marked the turning point of the Civil War.
This field of battle is quiet now. Near the site of Lincoln’s address, Gettysburg National Military Park
Shortly after the battle, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. His closing words are especially appropriate on Veterans Day and every day:
"... that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Every year in the United States, we pause on the 11th of November to honor the service and sacrifice of all men and women who answer the call. To our veterans and to those serving today – you have our deepest gratitude. We honor you for your service and sacrifices.
“Army of the Potomac, Second Corps, Artillery Brigade, Battery I First U.S. Artillery”
Especially in today’s world, those who choose to volunteer for the military endure long periods far from home and loved ones. They live in conditions without the comforts that we take for granted. They face danger and conquer fear to protect our freedom and way of life. In far too many cases, they give their all – sacrificing life and limb. We owe them.
The Armistice ending World War 1 was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. In the United States, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Armistice Day for November 11, 1919 to commemorate. President Dwight Eisenhower signed legislation in 1953 renaming it Veterans Day and extending the holiday to honor all veterans. It’s a day to thank veterans for their dedication – a day to honor all those that place their country above themselves.
The World War II Memorial and Washington Monument
“It’s about how we treat our veterans every single day of the year. It’s about making sure they have the care they need and the benefits that they’ve earned when they come home. It’s about serving all of you as well as you’ve served the United States of America. Freedom is never free.” President Barack Obama
Vietnam War Display, Smithsonian American History Museum
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” President John F. Kennedy
Marine Corps Memorial, Arlington VA
“I don’t have to tell you how fragile this precious gift of freedom is. Every time we hear, watch or read the news, we are reminded that liberty is a rare commodity in this world.” … “We owe this freedom of choice and action to those men and women in uniform who have served this nation and its interests in time of need. In particular, we are forever indebted to those who have given their lives that we might be free.” President Ronald Regan
Thanks to all active duty service members and veterans. And thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – you go out and thank a veteran too!
The Armistice ending World War 1 was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Armistice Day for November 11, 1919 to commemorate. President Dwight Eisenhower signed legislation in 1953 renaming it Veterans Day and extending the holiday to honor all veterans and their service to our country.
Especially in today’s world, those who choose to volunteer for the military endure long periods far from home and loved ones. They live under conditions without comforts that all of us take for granted. They face danger and overcome fear to protect our freedom and way of life. And they give their all – in far too many cases sacrificing life and limb.
To all veterans and active duty service members: Thank you. You honor us with your service.
Fallen Soldier Battle Cross Sculpture in the Winter Springs, Florida Veterans Memorial Park – The Fallen Soldier Battle Cross is a symbolic replacement of a cross on the battlefield or at the base camp for a soldier who has been killed.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
On this Memorial Day, 2008, I would like to thank each veteran who has answered our call to defend our country.
I had a few hours off one afternoon during a recent business trip up to Rockville, Maryland so I grabbed my Canon G9 and took the subway into downtown Washington DC. It was just a quick stroll — my main photo hint for this is to take a lot more time and a lot more pictures.
The World War II memorial is new since I was there last (many years ago). This is a photo of the Florida section.
The Vietnam Memorial always affects me deeply each time I see it. The gifts and tokens placed at the wall by loved ones of our fallen veterans, even after so many years is profoundly moving.
The suicide rate of veterans is at least three times the national suicide rate. In 2005, the suicide rate for veterans 18 to 24 years old was three to four times higher than non-veterans.
About 154,000 veterans nationwide are homeless on any given night. One-fourth of the homeless population is veterans.
There are more homeless Vietnam veterans than the number of soldiers who were killed during that war.
It takes at least 5.5 years, on average, to resolve a benefit claim with the Veteran’s Administration.
More than 600,000 unresolved claims are backlogged with the Veteran’s Administration.
Approximately 18.5 percent of service members who have returned from Afghanistan and Iraq currently have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or depression.
19.5 percent of these veterans report experiencing traumatic brain injury.
Roughly half of those who need treatment seek it, but only slightly more than half of those who receive treatment receive at least minimally adequate care, according to an April 2008 Rand Report.
As a citizen and a voter, I am ashamed of these numbers. Taking care of those that protect our country is a fundamental obligation of government. Each and every one of us should demand that our elected officials honor commitments we have made to veterans who have honored us with their service. Until we do so, Memorial Day seems a shallow honor at best.