It was on this date 97 years ago that the armistice that ended World War I was signed in a railway car just outside of Compiègne, France. Despite the fact that the armistice itself was signed in the wee hours of the morning, it took effect at 11 AM local time, marking the end of the war at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month. The first Veterans Day was celebrated one year later, 11 November 1919, to mark the anniversary of the end of the Great War.
Today, there are no veterans of that war left among us. However, there are many people out there today. . .not just in America, but in countries around the world. . .that are still here, and today is a day that is set aside for them. While we also have Memorial Day in May to honor those that made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country, today is for those that can still share their stories. Today is for the people that we can look in the eye and say "Thank you."
I sincerely hope that, if you have the opportunity to do so today, you will take it.
Ever since this site became a part of the internet, I've posted the video for the song A Pittance of Time by Terry Kelly, as I feel it carries an important message about the meaning of this particular day. That video is still at the top of the post here, but I also wanted to feature a recent commentary by a man named Bill Whittle about his experience at what will likely be the last reunion of the famed Doolittle Raiders. For those that are unfamiliar with the Doolittle Raid, Whittle sets the scene better than I could, and I hope you'll take a moment to watch or listen to it. His last few sentences pretty much sum up why this day is so important.
". . .these golden members of the golden generation that saved the world entire. . .and if you know one of them, and have anything you'd like to say to them, you should say it soon. You probably should say it now."
To all of the men and women across America and around the world that have served their country and still serve their countries today, I want to say thank you. Thank you for everything you've done. Thank you for everything you're doing. And thank you for everything that you will do going forward.
Have a peaceful Veterans Day, everyone.