Honor our veteran's service

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Steven Beasley
  • 34th Bomb Squadron commander
As I sit in the comfort of my home with my family in the United States, it's easy to forget there are thousands of U.S. forces currently deployed around the world.

With Veteran's Day just a little more than a month away, there is plenty of time to reflect on the service of those involved in today's fight, while also honoring the service of those who came before them.

Veteran's Day was originally proposed after the armistice that ended World War I. Then-President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed, "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations."

Unlike most federal holidays that adjust for the convenience of the typical work week, Veterans Day, or Armistice Day as it was previously known, is always Nov. 11. This is because the major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month of 1918, when Germany officially signed the Armistice.

Armistice Day further expanded after petitions from the state of Kansas, causing President Eisenhower to sign a bill into law for a day honoring not just World War I veterans, but all veterans of foreign wars May 6, 1954.

With a constant cycle of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, how many Airmen will spend the day honoring our past and current veterans?

One way to honor veterans is by helping deployed servicemembers and their families maintain their housing, especially during a South Dakota winter. Ellsworth has lost two Airmen in today's fight, and has local dependents who could use assistance shoveling during the winter.

In addition to shoveling, Airman can honor veterans on any given day of the week at retreat when our flag is lowered to the national anthem.

How many times have you seen someone conveniently stand inside, out of the wind, waiting for it to end so they could make their trek to their car or dorm room? Maybe you've never done this, but perhaps you know someone that has ducked back into the entryway of a building, or jumped into a car when they realized they had been caught outside on base while our national anthem was played.

Though Veteran's Day is on a Wednesday this year and not conveniently co-located to a weekend, we can use this as an opportunity to recognize the inconvenience our Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines suffer every day while deployed.
Every one of us is guilty, at times, of letting our current state of comfort direct our thoughts inward, but military service gives us the opportunity to focus on the sacrifices of others. Military service is, in fact, service--dedication to a cause greater than oneself.

So the next time you hear the national anthem play, stand proud as an American servicemember and use those couple of minutes to remember the sacrifices of our deployed members and the veterans who served before them.