To young children, it may mean a day off of school. To savvy shoppers, it may mean one-day sales. But to the brave men and women of the past, present and future who have dedicated their lives to serving this great country, it means something so much more.
For over 75 years now, Veterans Day has been observed to recognize American veterans of all wars – a day to appreciate and celebrate the men and women responsible for the safety and prosperity of this country. For those of you who fail to recognize the true meaning of this holiday and treat it more as a day off of work than anything else, I challenge you to take a moment and read how our service men and women, both current and retired, responded to the question, “What does Veterans Day mean to you?” It may just change your thinking.
“To me, Veterans Day allows the American people to gather and pay a serious tribute to not only retired service members, but also everyone forward deployed. It is easy to look at military members and appreciate what they do, but it is very important to understand how big of a sacrifice they have all made. They don’t just risk their lives. They sacrifice time with family and friends. They give up holidays and children’s sporting events. They miss little things that many people stateside are lucky to enjoy in life. And do they complain? No. They raise their hand to volunteer, to go overseas again and again knowing full well the risks that come with it. Someone has to do the job, and our veterans are the ones who volunteered to accept the task. On Veterans Day, we should recognize this as American citizens.”
– NROTC Midshipman Alex Robertson
“Veterans Day is a day to remember. Not just remember current military, but also those that were before. It’s to remember those that fought in the past and present. It’s a day to remember the things you want to forget.”
– Special Forces Operator Jim Collins, US Navy 1985-91- Desert Storm; Libya
“This is a day to reflect on all the service members and a day to be recognized.”
– Flight Operations and Traning Coordinator Mike Mackagave, US National Guard
“For me, it means not only remembering our service men and women who have given their lives and current people serving, but also the families and what they go through with their loved ones deployed. I think whether or not you agree with the war, as a country, we need to support our troops and their families.”
– Midshipman Richard Soller First Class
“It’s a time to celebrate those Americans that have served our armed forces in war and peace, showing their patriotism and love for their country. It’s not Memorial Day, where we remember those who were killed, but we celebrate those we served with. I’ll be having a few beers.”
– Lieutenant Colonel John Monaghan, US Army Reserve
“To me, Veterans Day means honoring everyone who has served in the military and appreciating the efforts made by them. And for my family, it means thanking my dad for everything he has done and supporting him.”
– Army ROTC Cadet Gloria Goldman
“Veterans Day is a day of celebration and fond memories for me, but I probably celebrate all the time.”
– Captain Paul Collier, USMC Ret.
“Veterans Day is a time to remember and honor all those who have served. We should use this day to truly appreciate all of our military personnel’s sacrifice and dedication to our country and to our freedom.”
– Junior Air Force ROTC Veronica Jeffries
“You could have the most ideal government in the world, but if no one has the courage to defend it, then it will die before it ever has a chance to flourish. Veterans Day is a celebration of those who are brave enough to defend the democracy we have built in America. To join the military is to say that you believe in this country and believe in it so strongly that you would die for it.”
– Army ROTC Cadet Mike Bacior
“To me, Veterans Day is a reminder of the dedication, courage and sacrifices made by the members of our armed forces past and present. Although I have yet to deploy overseas myself, I serve with many soliders who have and am inspired by their professionalism and continued dedication to our missions. I would like people to remember that there are Soliders, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, Reservists and National Guard members deployed all over the world, and we should remember that every single day of the year.”
-SPC Singer, US Army Reserve
“Being associated with the military for the short time that I have, I’ve already seen so many different types of people. There certainly is a variation among everyone’s personalities, but one thing you can count on finding is the bravery to fight for the freedoms that allow such a diverse culture to exist. When I see all the cadets, I think about those that came before us – millions of Americans who served defending our ideals and security. Veterans Day gives us a time to reflect on the actions and heroism of previous generations, as well as to recognize that it will soon be our turn to be tested. And if we wish to ensure the rights we have been granted are passed to the future, we too must step up to serve.”
– Army ROTC Cadet Captain Anthony Kallhoff