Veterans Day – the meaning of the 11th day of the 11th month

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Hrair H. Palyan
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
The word veteran carries a distinct meaning to every individual, but to those among the small percentage of Americans who have sworn to defend our nation, a common thread of honor seems to bind them together.

This commitment to honoring all those who have served and paying homage to their sacrifices is at the very heart of Veterans Day.

Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day and symbolized world peace and the end of one of humanities greatest conflicts - World War I. It wasn't until 1954 and several years after WWII and the Korean War, when congress decided the holiday would honor servicemembers who fought in all wars.

While the focus was broadened, the intent established early on remains the same.

Tech. Sgt. Brandon Peterson, 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron specialist expeditor, is responsible for supervising B-1 bomber maintenance on the flightline and mentoring and training new maintainers.

Peterson, who has been in the Air Force for more than 14 years, explained that Veterans Day is an important day for him, adding that it is a time when he can show his appreciation to all those who have worked tirelessly to lay the path out for him and others.

"To me, Veterans Day is a time to remember those who served before us," Peterson said. "Without their courage and strength, our Air Force wouldn't be half of what it is today."

Master Sgt. Erlinda Schommer, 28th Medical Support Squadron Resource Management Flight chief, echoed Peterson's comments, adding that it is also a time to reflect on the amazing obstacles past military members have overcome to safeguard our way of life.

"Countless individuals paved the road for us and made it possible for us to enjoy the freedoms that we have as Americans," Schommer said. "That's why I appreciate every military member who has served. They sacrificed their time with their loved ones to serve their country and did so selflessly."

Schommer emphasized that she can relate to overcoming the many obstacles and challenges presented during a career in the military. She said the she feels it is the drive and commitment of those who serve that allows them to move forward in all they do.

Deployments, training, long hours and time away from loved ones are a few of the events common in the lives of military members. While the word veteran creates a different image in everyone's mind - whether it's a Soldier crawling through the muck during the invasion of Normandy in 1944 or a pararescue jumper saving an injured marine's life in a remote location in Southwest Asia - the one thing that remains the same is the unwavering support for America's veterans.