This Sunday, we have the privilege of honoring and thanking those Americans who are serving or have previously served – that are still with us. It’s different than Memorial Day, when we remember and reflect on those that lost their lives in service to our great nation.
Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day commemorating the signing of the agreement that ended World War I, becoming a national holiday in 1938. In 1954, it was changed to Veterans Day to include those that had just served in World War II and Korea, and everyone who serves going forward.
The interesting part of the history of Armistice Day was that it was to mark the anniversary of the “War to End All Wars”. That statement may have been a little premature or optimistic based on what has happened in this world since November 11, 1918. Hence the transition to Veterans Day to better celebrate those that have, are and will continue to protect us and our nation.
What marks this year a little extra special is that 2018 is the 100th Anniversary of the original Armistice Day. While many of our youth are a little less knowledgeable of World War I and its place in our history, I had an opportunity in my earlier years with a more direct reminder of it.
I had the benefit of living with family members that served in WWI and who shared their stories and perspectives. I also grew up in Kansas City, home to America’s official World War I Museum & Memorial. Between school field trips and Scouts, I had a number of occasions to visit the Museum – highly recommended for those interested in this history.
I think Veterans Day gives us a great opportunity to reflect on our veterans. Because of their risks and sacrifices, we were able to experience our recent Mid-term Elections. No matter what the outcome was and your opinion of it, the simple fact is that we, the citizens of the United States, had that opportunity to vote. Many of us don’t really understand the level of self government we get to experience – made possible by our veterans!
While all of the veterans from World War I have long since passed, their legacy and those of the veterans that have served since then are still being realized. Please look for opportunities this weekend – and all year long – to appreciate and honor their service.
I have had the opportunity a number of times to be at Reagan National Airport when an Honor Flight arrives. It is one of the most moving experiences in my live – both in seeing and welcoming those veterans, but also observing EVERYONE doing the same. The smile on the Veterans and their escorts faces says it all!
Thank you to our veterans and let us all keep them in our prayers and thoughts this weekend.
Wes Haubein is the President of HL Group, Inc., a premier provider of mobile asset inventory management, RFID and supply chain solutions. He writes regularly about management, solution integration and technology.