The word veteran simply means a person who has experience in some field.   A veteran teacher, parent, or in the case of military service it means a person who has served for an extended period of time.  Unfortunately for commercial purposes, to award discounts and give out free meals, anyone with a half day service time is eligible.  What veteran does not mean and should in my opinion, is service in time of conflict in the combat area.  It’s not fair for example, to compare my father’s WWII march through Europe with the high school kid who is in the military serving at a base close to home.


scanI believe the intent of the original Veterans Day was to do just that, to honor those who had served in war time.  Originally called Armistice Day, marking the end of WWI when the end of hostilities took place at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect.  In 1954 after the war in Korea, it was renamed Veterans Day to be an inclusive remembrance of the service performed by members of the armed forces in areas of conflict.  We’ve diluted that honor, removed part of the pride associated with this day, by including everyone in this day thereby diminishing the magnitude of service given by my father and his brothers, my father-in-law and those who served in Korea, my fellow service members in SEA, and of course those who have served in the ongoing conflict in the middle and far east.

My father marched across Europe.  From the Normandy coast, through France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and finally Austria.  Wounded several times, carrying the Browning Automatic Rifle with his best friend, he marched.  It is in that memory that today I will remember and honor Veterans Day and purposely exclude those who wore/wear the uniform for photo ops.


About bauernfeind

NYC Born 27 years USAF retired Major 21 years teaching/17 in a high school now retired
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