The United States Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery.
Standing there with family and as the son of a U.S. Marine in 2015, the ceremony commences precisely at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans' organizations and remarks from dignitaries.
The ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces. This represents less than 1% of Americans.
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them” -John F. Kennedy-
How many Soldiers will be on active duty around the globe on November 11 working in their current role, task or assignment, to keep America safe and secure? So those of us who call the United States their home, may exercise their freedoms and the citizens rights that our nations architects designed for us.
How may Airman will be walking the streets in parades remembering their flights over the Pacific, Vietnam, the Atlantic, Europe, South America, North Africa or the Middle East? What about all those pilots that have flown at such a high altitude; never to be detected over Russia, North Korea or China?
How many Sailors and Marines will be cruising on, over or under our vast oceans to be present and ready, for our next mission to help others? How many Submariners will never be detected on their 24 x 7 watch; or with SOF waiting patiently below deck for their next clandestine operation, anywhere in the world?
So on Saturday, November 11, what will you be doing, John or Mary Q. Citizen, in Anytown U.S.A.?
For some Veterans who experience this day of recognition, it is not easy. It could be a day that is simultaneously bitter sweet. There is certainly great pride, yet some within the 1% who are Veterans, look around the country and wonder why the other 99% are not serving their nation, in their full capacity as a U.S. citizen.
Service to your nation doesn't begin or end with a job in the military. Service to your nation begins for everybody who becomes an American. What does that mean?
It means that we stand up and believe in the U.S. Constitution. We defend and negotiate all that it says and what it enables for us to accomplish for ourselves, our families and our fellow believers. You see, the freedoms and the opportunity to prosper in the United States is there for anybody to grasp. For anybody to achieve.
To honor and thank those who have served in the Military on Veterans Day, requires so much more:
- Will you "sleep in" on your day off or volunteer with the local church or non-profit to teach Veterans how to be more effective in the transition to a civilian private sector job?
- Will you design and code the next iPhone App to locate other Vets in your local town or city to assist each other and your community?
- Will you meet with local business owners to plan, raise funds and deploy vital programs for families of Veterans?
- Will you vote to fund and allocate adequate resources for the operations necessary and requested, by those forward deployed on the front lines, in uniform and also in the shadows?
The opportunities to serve our country and all of our Veterans November 11, requires a continuous cycle of thinking beyond just the Soldier, Airman, Sailor or Marine.
It also requires more proof, that a majority of the other 99%, are also serving their country and all that the United States stands for in the world.
So this November 11, listen to John F. Kennedy...