Veterans Day: In appreciation of those who served, and still serve

Published 2:15 pm Tuesday, November 9, 2021

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World War I ended 103 years ago this Thursday. It was known as the Great War, and it ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, just over a century ago. Known then as Armistice Day, it has become what today we commemorate as Veterans Day, to honor not only those who died but those who still live. We do well to remember those veterans who served, who were wounded and who died for their country in the 103 years that have since elapsed.
When the Great War, or European War — turned World War in most accounts on both sides of the Atlantic after the United States became involved — was to end, the leaders of that time knew its significance. More than 16 million were dead and the world was in an infancy with mechanized transportation that had significantly impacted this conflict.
The carnage, from four years of intense fighting, was unfathomable. This treaty, they believed, would mark the end of the war to end all wars.
Much has happened since that war. We’ve had more of them for one thing; it was hardly the war to end all wars.
Like a century ago, the most recent battle in Afghanistan had all the latest and greatest available. Hard as it is to image, we’re talking airplanes, tanks and submarines — that was all relatively new. So were chemical weapons.
The cyber wars of today, which even just 30 to 40 pre-internet years ago would not have crossed our minds, seem a bit of a comparison.
This week, and specifically Thursday, we pause for Veterans Day. The nation will mostly mark it that day, with a federal holiday. Events in commemoration have already started.
Let us also remember, not only does it mark the end of that first savage war, it also recognizes all veterans. That means living or dead, that yes, it is different than Memorial Day.
In particular, we should honor the sacrifices of those who bear the scars, physical and psychological, from their fight for the cause of freedom, liberty and justice. Here are some numbers to bear in mind. And remember that behind each number is a name, a person who lived — and died – for their country, and for me and you.
• 49 Carter Countians died in battle during World War I
• 155 Carter Countians died in battle during World War II
• 19 Carter Countians died in battle during the Korean War
• 30 Carter County soldiers died in the Vietnam Conflict
• One Carter County serviceman died during Desert Storm
• Three Carter County servicemen died as part of Enduring Freedom
War has claimed the lives of 257 Carter County servicemen. Countless others came home with both physical and mental scars from war.
Right now, there are 19 million U.S. veterans, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affair.
They’re our family members, our friends, and our neighbors.
Thursday, we should all pause to honor their sacrifice and their love of country.
Whether in times of war or in times of peace, these heroes took a stand and served this country with honor.
We need to stop and pay respect for those who defend us, and our way of living. We’re not the perfect country no more than any other, but our entry to any and all wars signaled our rightful place as a world power and though battered and bruised as has happened, we are yet to be pushed from the perch.
What America says and does still matters to the rest of the world. That’s not changing anytime soon.
Make no mistake — we didn’t get here by chance. And we certainly owe more than a thank you to our veterans.
If you know a veteran, take the time this Veterans Day to let them know how much you appreciate the sacrifices they made for you.
We believe we should never forget their service.

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