Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day

Armistice Day 2009

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, and

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

Having had the honor to work for the Department of Veterans Affairs and to meet a few remaining (at that time there were just a few hundred) World War I veterans, I just want to thank all the people who have served and who are currently serving this country in our Armed Forces. I also want to thank their families who also sacrifice so much to support their loved ones in their choice of service.

My time in Medical Administrative Services taught me a few lessons:

1. The cause must be great and worthy for us to risk the physical and mental health of our youth in times of war
2. Even 70 years after battle, post traumatic stress can still appear
3. The bravery and valor of those who serve in the armed forces is our greatest national treasure
4. We should never forget the sacrifices that have been made on our behalf by service men and women, including the ultimate sacrifice of death in battle.

I did discover that I'm not cut out to be a federal employee. That was the only job I have had in my life that I could not make more efficient! I loved working with the veterans (or as my New Jersey co-worker would say - Ve'erns) and was honored especially to know a WWI veteran (nicknamed "Peck") who came once a month even in his 90's to volunteer. In WWI units were made up from communities, and his unit was The Houn Dawgs, with the motto "Nobody Kicks Our Dawg". Peck was a founding member of the unit.

According to the history of the unit, they took about 25% to 50% casualties in the Battle of Argonne. The devastation to an entire generation of families in these rural towns created changes to how units were composed in WWII, to spread the risk across more units. The local school in Aurora Missouri uses their company emblem and motto for their school mascot. I find it touching that almost 100 years later they are still honoring their WWI soldiers. Found the story of this unit on a site about Aurora history:
Company M, 2nd Missouri Infantry of Aurora was called into action for World War I on August 5, 1917. While waiting to be shipped overseas, the Aurora infantrymen befriended a stray hound dog that eventually traveled overseas with them. The dog returned to Aurora with the group and the "Houn Dawg" became the official town mascot.

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