Although Veterans Day is a time to reflect and remember
veterans who have died and to pay respect to them for their
service and sacrifice, this Veterans Day (the second in this
century) would be a good time to honor your fathers,
grandfathers, uncles, brothers, etc. who served and are still with us.
Show them how much you appreciate what they did, before it is to late. Of the 16 million citizens who served in uniform in World War II, 5 million are alive. But veterans are dying at the rate of 1,200 a day and that number will accelerate in just a few years. Ten to 15 years from now will find only a handful left.
Most of these men were very young at the beginning of the war. They had survived the Great Depression of the 1930s and reflecting our country, they came from diverse backgrounds. They were civilians with little training but a great deal of courage and tenacity and they produced the finest fighting force the world had seen. They were lumberjacks from Minnesota, dairy farmers from Wisconsin, coal miners from West Virginia, plow boys from Louisiana, grocery clerks from California. etc. They volunteered in such great numbers that recruiting centers could not handle the crunch of men who wanted to serve their country.
The ethnicity of these recruits was as diverse as the geographic areas from which they came. There were Navajo Indians from the Southwest, Hispanics from south Texas, sixth and seventh generation English from Delaware, Polish kids from Chicago and Irish, Jews and Italians from New York and Boston.
For 55 plus years now, these veterans were silent about their service and what they had done. In fact, they came home quietely, went to school or got a job, married, had children and tried and succeeded in being good citizens. The future and not the sacrifices of the war was their major concern. Think about what a wonderful country we now have because of these men and what they did during and after their military service. While you still have the chance, tell them how much you respect, honor and love them.
07 November 2001
All the world's a stage
© 1998-2011 Benjamin M. Givens, Jr.