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Opinion: We honor veterans with these words from our nation's leaders
01182018 WWI 0002.jpg
A display case holds a uniform and photograph Jan. 19, 2018, at the Northeast Georgia History Center's World War I exhibit. - photo by David Barnes
Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed ...
U.S. Congress resolution

The U.S. Congress in 1926 officially recognized the end of World War I and agreed upon a resolution establishing Armistice Day as a means of honoring the American veterans who had fought so valiantly in a horrific war. The Congress optimistically hoped that the nation had reached a worldwide peace that would last forever. If only that had been the case.

Nov. 11 we recognize all those who serve or have served in the nation’s military service with the celebration of Veterans Day, the holiday once known as Armistice Day.

Twice each year the nation pauses for special consideration of those who prove willing to put themselves in harm’s way to serve and protect our way of life. Memorial Day in May is meant to recognize those who died in service to the country; Veterans Day is a recognition of all those who serve, no matter when, where or in what capacity.

The Times editorial board

Staff members

  • Norman Baggs, general manager
  • Shannon Casas, editor in chief

Community members

  • Cheryl Brown
  • David George
  • Mandy Harris
  • Brent Hoffman
  • J.C. Smith
  • Tom Vivelo
To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with lots of 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."
Woodrow Wilson

In establishing Armistice Day in 1926, President Woodrow Wilson spoke of “pride in the heroism” of those who died. Truly, all those who don the uniform of the nation’s military are heroes worthy of special recognition, though as a nation we too often fail to give them their due.

We ask of these men and women that they sacrifice their time, their families, their well-being, and sometimes their lives in order to defend and promote ideals for which our nation has been known since its founding.

We ask so much of so many, and so seldom pause to say thanks.

In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

President Dwight Eisenhower was in office when the name was officially changed to Veterans Day in 1954. In doing so, he spoke of the nation’s entire citizenry joining hands “in the common purpose.”

Today there seem to be few common purposes around which a nation harshly divided by political rhetoric can rally, but support for and appreciation of the nation’s armed forces should definitely be one that qualifies.

Veterans Day should not only be an opportunity to skip work, watch a parade and listen to the mournful sounds of a bugle playing taps. It should be a national moment of reflection in which we all recognize that we enjoy rights and freedoms that others around the world do not, and that much of the “American Way” is possible only because of our nation’s military.

The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.
George Washington

Our first president certainly understood the challenges and expectations of military life, but unfortunately we have not always heeded his admonition to treat well those who are willing to serve.

Too often we have blamed soldiers for the decisions made by politicians, and shunned them for participation in unpopular military campaigns. Too often we have tried to judge battlefield behavior by the standards and mores of civilian life. Too often we have paid the military too little, provided benefits that were insufficient, offered medical care that was substandard.

When it comes to our nation’s veterans, we frequently are guilty of offering praiseworthy platitudes that we fail to back up with action when it comes to improving the lot of our fighting men and women.

The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.
Gen. Douglas MacArthur

As much as we all pray for peace, history has proven that it is an elusive dream. Nations have been at war for as long as they have existed, and while the nature of warfare has changed, the reality is that we must always have a powerful, well-prepared military presence to survive as a country. That military depends on the veterans who are willing to serve and to sacrifice.


It is those veterans we honor on Monday, at “the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month.” It is a day that must resonate with us all if our way of life is to continue.

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
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