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Letters to the Editor

Thoughts on Veterans Day and the ‘war to end all wars’

Veterans Day, which began in 1919 as Armistice Day to commemorate the end of World War I, became an official national holiday in 1938. The day is intended to honor all American veterans, living and dead, whether their service was in peacetime or in war. (Memorial Day is the national holiday to honor our war dead.)

Typically, the day is the opportunity for most of the people in our country to give thanks to our living veterans for their honorable service given to preserve our American way of life, whatever that means to us.

Yes, those of us who have served know that there is a portion of our great nation that would like to condemn us all to the fiery pits of hell, and that is their right under our Constitution, which we all took an oath to defend.

More than 16 million living veterans have served in war; 2.4 million of us from the Vietnam war. Around 2 million American veterans are women. More than 2.9 million veterans receive compensation for service-related disabilities.

World War I was believed at the time to be the “war to end all wars,” as it had been so terrible, no country would ever consider going to war again.

This coming Nov. 11 will mark the centennial of the end of that war. Since the end of World War I, America has fought in nine more wars or “operations.”

We never seem to run out of enemies to fight in the world today. However, our greatest number of war dead occurred not while fighting foreign foes, but came from when we fought ourselves in the Civil War, a war that claimed 618,000 lives — one death for every five men in service.

If nothing else, Veterans Day should be a reminder that we should rededicate ourselves to the cause of peace. Sadly, politicians do NOT have the answer. They always seem to manage to get us into trouble.

As veterans, nothing on our uniforms said Republican or Democrat, etc. We all came from different backgrounds, united in the common goal of service to our country. And whether that service was voluntary or not, we did our duty, whatever our country wanted that duty to be.

America will fight in more wars. It seems to be what we have to do, as the world is so full of unsavory characters that keep the pot stirred. Those who want to kill us all could care less what political party we belong to.

The price of freedom is war. Service to our country is a principle that forms part of the bedrock of our nation.

Perhaps a time will come when we will no longer have a need for a Veterans Day holiday in the future. Wishful thinking?

Most likely, but at least, thanks in large part to our veterans, we can have that wish.

Mike Johnson


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