Saturday, November 8, 2014

Honor those who have served on Veterans Day

November 11th is Veterans Day, a day when we honor and remember those who fought for our freedoms. The purpose of Veterans Day is to honor America’s veterans for their service, patriotism and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good of the American people. A fun fact that I discover is the Marine Corps birthday is celebrated on November 10 (1775) and since the birthday and Veterans Day are a day after one another, the Marine Corps customarily observes both occasions with a 96 hour liberty period.

Veterans Day originated as Armistice Day to honor World War I veterans. November 11th was chosen to remember the temporary cease fire between the Allied Nations and Germany on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. November 11, 1918 has been called the end of World War I with the Treaty of Versailles officially ending the war on June 28, 1919. On the one year anniversary of the armistice, President Wilson proclaimed November 11th as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. Congress would make November 11th a legal holiday on May 13, 1938. By 1954, after World War II required the greatest mobilization of U.S. armed forces and after Americans fought in Korea, the 83rd Congress amended the Act of 1938 changing it from Armistice Day to Veterans Day, in honor of veterans of all American wars. October 8, 1954, President Eisenhower proclaimed the first Veterans Day.

There are many veterans in my life who served this country with honor. I wish I could name you all, I want to focus on two veterans who means the world to me and to my husband. First, my grandfather Ken Bedard. He was born Charles Kenneth Bedard on March 11, 1922 in Boston, Massachusetts. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he, along with many young men of his generation, answered the call to serve. He joined the U.S. Navy and was assigned to the U.S.S. Kitkun Bay (CVE 71). He served proudly until the end of the war when he left the Navy, met and married my grandma Ruby and begin their lives together in Southern California. Although he never openly talked about his experience in the war, I knew that he held this country in high esteem and did not tolerate any disrespect to the American flag or America’s service men and women.

Another veteran who is very important in my family is my late father-in-law, Joe Y. Lara. Joe was born November 5, 1930 in Los Angeles, California. He joined the U.S. Army after his father’s death in 1946 in order to help support his siblings and would lie about his age in order to enlist. He would be sent to Korea and would be a member of the airborne division. He would serve ten years in the Army before returning home to Los Angeles. He would teach his son the love of this country as well as respecting and honoring her veterans. No matter where we are, if my husband sees a military uniform or something that identifies the individual as a vet, he will take a moment to thank them for their service. This habit I know he will teach our children.

In conclusion, our veterans are very important to us. They volunteer to go to war around the world. They are away from family and friends, often missing life moments that we take for granted all that we can enjoy our life with the freedom that we have. Some veterans come back wounded. Many wounds we can see and many wounds we cannot. On this Veterans Day and every day, if you see a veteran, make an effort to say thanks because regardless of your opinions on war, they sacrificed a lot to ensure your freedoms.

To all the veterans, we thank you for your service and sacrifice.