On Veterans Day, we celebrate and honor members of our nation’s armed forces for their tremendous commitment and sacrifices.
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the Allies and Germany announced a temporary cessation of all hostilities, signaling the end of the Great War, World War I. November 11 was known as Armistice Day until 1954, when it was renamed Veterans Day.
Our military veterans currently number more than 21 million, from Richard Overton—who at 107 is our oldest living World War II veteran—to young men and women barely in their 20s. Today, we honor each and every one of them with the recognition they so richly deserve.
There is a poignant quotation on the national Korean War Veterans Memorial. It reads, “Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met.” This powerful statement epitomizes the modern wars and conflicts in which our brave veterans have served, and complements another famous adjacent quote.
“Freedom is not free.”
Veterans and active-duty military members also serve our country at home by helping after natural disasters. Only a year ago, more than 7,000 National Guard members provided assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. When disasters strike abroad, they are some of the first to mobilize and provide foreign relief efforts. The humanitarian aid provided to Japan after the 2011 tsunami and to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake, recalls the Berlin Airlift in 1948-49.
While Veterans Day is celebrated only once a year, the passion with which we do so should be evident every day. Without our noble veterans, our daily lives as we know them would be extraordinarily different. It’s hard to comprehend a world today had America turned a blind eye to WWI and The Second World War. Incidentally, when our brave troops returned from those theaters of war, they were greeted with yellow ribbons, ticker tape parades, and universal gratitude from their friends, neighbors, and loved ones. Though much has changed since then, we should never lose sight of what our veterans stand for as we honor them on this day.
Our veterans represent the past, present, and future of America—as they do for American Public University System. We were founded as American Military University by retired Marine Corps officer Jim Etter who served for 27 years. Today, many of our faculty and staff are either veterans or members of military families. We believe veterans will play an essential role in the recapitalization of our workforce and will be the future leaders of our business. Having been founded by a Marine Corps officer, our university has always maintained a commitment to current and former service members. Read more about our efforts in hiring veterans. Click here.
Today we pause as a nation to honor the veterans who have served or are currently serving to protect us and our interests. As you encounter veterans and active duty military members, on this day and every day, I encourage you to reach out and thank them for their service. Remember today and every day the courage and sacrifice they have selflessly made to preserve the freedom we enjoy in this great country.