Champions of a noble cause

One hundred and one years ago on this 11th day of November, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed this date as the first commemoration of Armistice Day, noting the end of World War I.

This day became known here in our country as Veteran’s Day, a day we still celebrate and give honor to those who served our country in military service.

“A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.” ~Bob Dylan

I didn’t grow up in a military family but there are several veterans in my family who I admire and hold in high esteem because of their willingness to protect my country and my freedom.

And I’d like to honor those veterans today in my thoughts as well as highlight some photos I’ve taken over the years pertaining to three military branches – U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Air Force – that I think are appropriate for Veteran’s Day. 

I regret that I don’t have pictures to honor the U.S. Marine Corp or the U.S. Coast Guard, but please know that I am thankful for those military veterans as well.  

Taken at U.S. Air Force Museum, Dayton, Ohio

My father did not serve in World War II, although he certainly would have if he had not been given a health deferment. But my father’s brother, my uncle, did go to war and blessedly, he returned.

While clearing out my parents’ home after their deaths, my sisters and I discovered many postcards, written by my uncle and sent to our grandmother (his mother) during his time at war, as well as a couple of photos. We gave them all to our cousin, the son of our uncle, but before I did so, I scanned a few pictures of my uncle in his uniform.

My husband’s oldest brother, who passed away last year, was a U.S. Navy veteran. It touched our hearts that he was given a military burial and received some veterans’ benefits before he succumbed to cancer.

I also want to honor other vets today who have been part of my life.

My brother-in-law, married to my oldest sister, served in the U.S. Army prior to the Vietnam era.

A former brother-in-law went to Vietnam and I still remember the anxiety and concern our family felt while he was stationed in that war zone.

I also still recall the disgraceful way our Vietnam veterans were treated, which I believe was horrendous, when they returned home.

I also must give a salute of respect and appreciation to our many friends and acquaintances who also answered the call and fulfilled their duty to protect our country by their military service.

And last, but certainly not the least, I honor my own husband, a former Army officer, who willingly answered the call to duty when he joined R.O.T.C. in college and then spent several years on active duty after graduation and our marriage. One of those years we spent apart when he followed orders to serve and protect our freedom while overseas.

Not only should we give reverence to our veterans, but also to their families as well.

It’s not easy being a member of a military family. The hardships are many and they must be strong and steadfast as they support their loved one, at home and abroad.

Papa occasionally wears a baseball cap with the words U.S. Army embroidered on it and it causes me to smile when a stranger will say to him, “Thank you, sir, for your service.”

Even though my husband served his country and us many years ago, he never fails to support his fellow veterans and to educate and inspire the younger generation about the reasons why our military personnel serve our country.

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”~ G.K. Chesterton

Every year, our local high school invites former U.S. servicemen to a Veteran’s Day assembly at the school where they are honored and given opportunities to speak to students about their military experiences.

One year, my husband was invited to speak. His topic? Why it’s important to understand that those men and women who proudly serve begin their duties with an oath, promising to protect and defend the United States Constitution and they take that oath very seriously.

An enlisted service member’s oath is as follows:

“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

An officer’s oath, the one my husband took, is a little different:

“I, _____ , having been appointed an officer in the _____ (Military Branch) of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.” 

On this Veteran’s Day due to the pandemic, that high school assembly will not take place, but I urge all of us Americans – young and old – to offer our appreciation, our respect, and our undying gratitude for our veterans.

They deserve it thousands of times over.

We remember those who were called upon to give all a person can give, and we remember those who were prepared to make that sacrifice if it were demanded of them in the line of duty, though it never was. Most of all, we remember the devotion and gallantry with which all of them ennobled their nation as they became champions of a noble cause.” ~ Ronald Reagan

©mamasemptynest.wordpress.com 2020

Thanks seems inadequate

blogveterans-day-2

Here in the United States today is a public holiday. It’s Veteran’s Day, a day that honors all those who have served our country so nobly in the United States Armed Forces.

This holiday was originally called Armistice Day and was established to celebrate the end of World War I which officially concluded at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. Sometime in the 1950s, the holiday was re-named Veteran’s Day.

A lot of folks get this holiday confused with Memorial Day, which is commemorated in May and honors all those who died while in the military. There is also an Armed Forces Day, occurring in May as well, which is meant to honor those currently serving in all branches of the armed forces.

But today, Veteran’s Day, is meant to honor all our veterans. My husband, the Papa of this empty nest, just happens to be one of those.  While earning his college degree, he was a member of ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps). Once he graduated from the university, he decided to go on active duty instead of being a reserves officer.

That choice took us (we were married after he graduated) on a journey of US Army life for several years. While Papa served during peace time here in our own country and abroad in a foreign land, he still was prepared, as any armed services member is, to defend our country and lay down his life for her (and us) if necessary.

For that, I will always admire him and always give thanks for his willingness to put his life on the line.

Earlier this week, Papa and some other community fellow veterans were invited to participate in a breakfast in their honor and a Veteran’s Day assembly at our local high school. He’s attended this special event for the last couple of years and he always looks forward to it. Once he was one of the guest speakers and appreciated the opportunity to talk to young people about serving our country.  

Today, on this 11th day of my 30 Days of Thanks Giving, I’m grateful for all those who have sacrificed so much to be in the military. Won’t you join me in giving a thankful tribute to all of our veterans not just on this day to honor them, but on every day?

“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

 

Giving honor where honor is due

blog8115This flag waves and unfurls itself in the wind as it flies outside the home of an American patriot.

This flag is displayed every day of the year, not just on holidays like Memorial Day, Flag Day, the Fourth of July, or Veteran’s Day.

This flag represents not just this great country but all those who have protected it, guarded it, and in many cases, given their lives for it.

This flag proudly hangs from my front porch because my husband is a veteran of U.S. military service.

My husband did not fight in a war during his time in the military, but he most ardently would have given his all for his country had he been given the opportunity to do so.

He is a keen student of history and he strongly believes in the premises this country was founded upon.  He is proud to be an American veteran, and my post today honors him and all those who have served our country.

When I was a youngster, one aspect that denoted Veteran’s Day was the wearing of a red artificial poppy on your lapel.  I remember veterans handed these small brilliantly colored flowers out from the street corners of my hometown.  We wore them proudly to show our support of these brave souls and those who gave their lives to protect our freedom.

Another remembrance of Veteran’s Day, which was also called Armistice Day, was learning and reciting in our school classrooms this well-known poem written during World War I.

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae

   “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

    In Flanders fields!”

blogDSCN8114Today, Chapter 11, Page 11, in my book called Opportunity, I don’t have a red poppy to wear on my shirt.

But this flag, which adorns my home, and my voice in this blog can honor my husband and his fellow servicemen and women.

Thank you to all our veterans for serving our country and keeping us free.  We owe everything we have to you.  May God bless you and hold you safely in the palm of His hand.

“But the freedom that they fought for, and the country grand they wrought for, Is their monument today, and for aye.” ~ Thomas Dunn English

 ©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com