Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans Day November 11, 2007

In Flanders Field
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
---Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army
This Veterans Day, Vice President Cheney gave the speech at Arlington National Cemetery. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has a link to Veterans Day speakers and speeches from 1954-2007. More general information is provided here.

Over at the Vietnam Memorial, Colin Powell is about to give his address.

I always remember my dad on Veterans Day. He served in post-war Germany in the early 1950s and in the Army Reserves until his mid-40s when he retired as a Colonel.

As a young child in post-War Germany, I saw the rows of barbed wire and the watch towers that imprisoned the people of Eastern Europe. About 40 years later, in 1991, I was in Czechoslovakia and saw that the watch towers were tipped-over and the barbed wire was being rolled up.

I understood even as a small child that when rulers imprison entire nations that there must be a really big problem.

Wikipedia comments about the history of this national holiday:

Veterans Day is an American holiday honoring military veterans. Both a federal holiday and a state holiday in all states, it is celebrated on the same day as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world, falling on November 11, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. (Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.

Veterans Day is largely intended to thank veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to United States national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served - not only those who died - have sacrificed and done their duty.

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