omorrow is Veterans Day , a day that was set aside by Congress and signed into law by President Eisenhower “to honor veterans on the 11th day of November of each year … a day dedicated to world peace.” It is particularly important on that day that we pause to honor our veterans as this nation is fighting two wars, one in Iraq where victory has been declared and another in Afghanistan where an ending of any kind remains too distant to contemplate.
There will be plenty of opportunities in Robeson County to honor our veterans — and the details can be found in staff writer Ali Rockett’s Page 1A story. On Saturday, we will provide the coverage.
This day evolved from Armistice Day, which commemorated the end of World War I — the War to End All Wars, making it falsely advertised.
Veterans Day was born on June 1, 1954, with a stroke of the pen by Eisenhower, himself a war hero from World War II. But the idea of Veterans Day originated on the battlefields of Ardennes, the Marne and Chauteau-Thiery. It was nurtured at Midway, Guadalcanal and Normandy.
It was tempered at Pork Chop Ridge and Old Baldy in Korea.
And, shamefully, it was nearly forgotten in the Mekong Delta and the highlands of Vietnam.
Our military heroes aren’t indestructible.
They just seem that way when they rise to meet the threats to this county. Seldom have they been more spectacular than in Iraq, where a war has been won and a nation has been given a chance at liberty for its people.
Who are these veterans that we honor today? They are the ones who reside in the vast cemetery at Normandy, those who are entombed in the USS Arizona at the bottom of Pearl Harbor, those who fell during the Bataan death march, and those who are buried in Arlington Cemetery.
They are also among us, working beside you, playing nearby, sitting in our church pews on Sunday, teeing it up with us on the weekend. These are the more fortunate.
Others have been so shattered by war that they can no longer care for themselves. They are among the homeless, the mentally disabled, and the physically disabled.
While veterans aren’t looking for praise for doing the hard work that keeps us free, they are entitled. Go find a veteran today, and give that person a hug. It’s a small gesture for a mighty sacrifice.