This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you.
We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.
The photos were taken at the 20th Century Veteran's Memorial in North Platte, Nebraska. The bronze statues salute the five major armed forces: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. They were sculpted by Nebraska rancher, artist and veteran Ted Long.
In November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with these words:
"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"
So why November 11? World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France.
However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month - November 11, 1918.
In 1968, Veterans Day was one of the holidays included in the Uniform Holiday Bill, intended to ensure three-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day.
However, on September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a law which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people.
Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
Thank you, veterans and current service patriots, for writing that blank check for me and my family!