Honoring the sacrifices many have made for our country in the name of freedom and democracy is the very foundation of Veterans Day. — former New York Representative Charles B. Rangel
As we celebrate Veterans Day, let us remember once again the sacrifices that the men and women of our Armed Forces have made, and let us pause to honor all those, living and dead, who have served our nation in war and peace.
The U.S. continues to be the defender of freedom and democracy around the globe, a role it has borne since the end of World War II. Time and again we have stepped forward while others held back or looked to us for leadership and protection. As a part of that global mission, our nation’s military now has bases in more than 70 countries around the world and troops in dozens more.
Veterans Day, which has been a national holiday since 1938, honors all American veterans, living and dead, those who served in peacetime as well as wartime. That distinguishes it from Memorial Day, which honors all those who died in military service.
Veterans Day was first known as Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I. In the U.S. it is celebrated every November 11, for on that day in 1918, WW I ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Great Britain, France, Australia and Canada also commemorate the veterans of WW I and WW II on or near November 11: Canada has Remembrance Day, while Britain marks Remembrance Sunday on the second Sunday of November.
Throughout our history, those in military service have protected the values and liberties that this nation was built on. And they continue contributing to American society far beyond their time on active duty. They use the lessons they’ve learned and the experiences they’ve acquired in the military to improve our communities. They become our nation’s police officers, firefighters, teachers, scientists, entrepreneurs and public servants. They are among the most active volunteers working in local organizations across our country. For them, the call to duty never ends.
And so on this Veterans Day, let us remember the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our Country, especially those now in Veterans Hospitals. We must honor, now more than ever, those who have defended and strengthened the United States of America.
Robert L. Dilenschneider is the Founder and CEO of The Dilenschneider Group, an international communications firm that provides strategic advice and counsel to Fortune 500 companies and leading families and individuals in fields ranging from mergers and acquisitions, to crisis communications, to marketing, government affairs and foreign media.