Veterans Day: From one generation to the next – the never-ending heroism, sacrifice, and service of American soldiers

Today we celebrate Veterans Day. Some can trace their soldier ancestors all the way back to the Revolutionary War, others to the trenches of WWI in France, or the bloodsoaked islands of the Pacific Ocean, or the snow-covered mountains of Korea, or the jungles of Vietnam. As we remember and celebrate our heroes of the past, many of them still alive, we pray for our heroes overseas, as they carve out their own niche in America’s glorious military history.

For example, in Iraq, Marines disrupting terrorist networks:

“It’s actually quite a disappointment we didn’t get any action this time,” Lance Cpl. Alex Guzman from San Diego, Calif., said near the end of the day Thursday, as he played chess with an Iraqi solider at a temporary outpost.

Guzman and other Marines from his battalion fought in the battle of Fallujah in April 2004 and said this operation was nothing compared to that fight.

But Marines have seen some action. Lance Cpl. Paul Scott, 19, recalled killing a man for the first time during a firefight earlier in the week.

“I put a burst and the dude dropped,” said Scott, who grew up with his father, a career Marine, in Santa Maria, Calif. “It was my first one — pretty motivating.”

My grandma’s uncle served as an MP in World War I, and many off his offspring – or their men – went on to serve in later wars. On my wife’s side, we have veterans from Vietnam, Korea, World War II (the mountains of Italy in 1944, no less) and no doubt many other wars, as her family’s American roots stretch all the way back to the 17th Century. I hope that one day I shall have children who will continue the tradition and fight for what is undoubtedly the greatest country the world has ever seen.

Here’s the official U.S. Army 2005 Veterans Day Message:

On this Veterans Day, we honor all Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen for selflessly serving our Nation. The history of the United States is replete with stories of Americans who displayed the steadfast courage that defines our country. Today, the brave men and women of our Armed Forces continue that legacy as they write history in the war on terror.

November 11th has long been a day of reflection on the sacrifices of our Armed Forces. From Woodrow Wilson’s 1919 proclamation of Armistice Day to commemorate the end of World War I, to President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the 83rd United States Congress changing the name to Veterans Day in the aftermath of World War II, we have retained the noble purpose of the day—to express gratitude to our servicemen and women.

We salute our 25 million living veterans, and like President Wilson, have “solemn pride in the heroism” of those who died in service to this great Nation. We stand as proudly beside our Soldiers as did President Wilson and the Americans of his generation. Your sacrifices have preserved for people around the world the same blessings of freedom and the limitless opportunity that we enjoy in the United States today.

May each of you have a safe Veterans Day. May God bless the men and women in our Army. And may God continue to bless our great Nation.

From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

This Veterans Day, we honor those men and women who have defended our nation in the armed forces.

Today is an opportunity for Americans to recognize the tremendous accomplishments and proud heritage of all who have worn the uniform of the United States military. In our short history, tens of millions of Americans have served in uniform – and many have made the ultimate sacrifice in order to preserve the freedoms enjoyed by the people of the United States. Veterans have served with distinction to protect the founding ideals of this nation and to extend those same ideals to those oppressed by tyranny.

In the ongoing war on terrorism, you have carried forth that same legacy of selfless devotion to duty. American service men and women advance the cause of liberty every day while standing guard against those who would threaten it. America is rightfully proud of her Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and Merchant Mariners.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff join me in thanking all veterans and their families for the sacrifices you have made in defending freedom and ensuring the continued security of the nation.

The Mudville Gazette’s Dawn Patrol has plenty of Veterans Day links. Here are a couple of samples:

From blogger Mostly Cajun:

I am a veteran. This post is about me and millions of others who went before and followed after me. I’m no hero. There are many others who braved far greater dangers and lived to tell about it, or to hold in dark secret recesses within the memory. And there are those who didn’t live. Their stories are ours to tell.

Click to read the post

Daisy Cutter says this:

Veterans should tell their stories. Tell people where you served and what you did. Tell them why you served. Tell your kids. Talk to your friends. Tell people about the moments that still make you cry. Live out who you are. Speak up when appropriate about the value, pride, and honor of wearing the uniform of the United States military.

We need to see. We need to hear. And for those who are doing it already, great. Keep on doing it. We need you.