REMEMBER VETERAN’S DAY
World War One, the Great War, the War to End all Wars shook the nations of the world for four years, claiming 20 million lives. The Armistice was signed on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, and since then nations commemorate that event with a moment of silence.
This day is observed around the world and has many names – Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, and the Day of Peace. It once was a celebration of the silencing of the cannons of World War One and is now a day when nations around the world pause in a moment of silence with solemn pride in the remembrance of the heroism of those who have served, those who are currently serving, and those who died in our country’s service.
We don’t mark this day each year as a celebration of victory, as proud of that victory as we are. We mark this day as a celebration of those who made victory possible. It’s a day we keep in our minds the brave men and women of this young nation — generations of them — who above all else believed in and fought for a set of ideals.
They chose to serve the cause that is greater than self; many even after they knew they’d be sent into harm’s way. And in this time of persistent conflict, for the better part of a decade, they have endured tour after tour in distant and difficult places; they have protected us from danger; and they have given others the opportunity for a better life.
So to all of them — to our veterans, to the fallen, and to their families — there is no tribute, no commemoration, no praise that can truly match the magnitude of your service and your sacrifice. We can offer this humble moment of silence.
Silence does not come naturally to America. We are loud and busy – constantly moving. We celebrate with fireworks, concerts, parties, picnics, songs and parades. It is not in our nature to be still or to be silent. You see, silence is something we struggle with.
Our world is not a silent world – it is not a peaceful world either. Just we struggle to be silent, to be still, for a moment, our world struggles with war, strife, injustice, hunger, disease and destruction, and it cries out in need. Our service members heeded the call, the cries of world. They did not sit back in silence, but stood against a chaotic world to bring peace.
A life of service is anything but peaceful. From the sound of reveille to the blowing of Taps, their lives are in constant motion. The days are filled with the sounds of a Drill Sergeant’s voice, rifles at the training range, trucks, ships, submarines, helicopters, jets, tanks, mortars and cadences. It is also filled with the sounds of their children laughing, their spouses, and their friends. When they deploy, the day could be filled with other sounds that linger long after the Soldier returns. No – a life of service is not silent.
Their lives are busy and noisy, but no one knows silence like a military family. They know a silence like no other – the silence that remains when a son or daughter goes off to boot camp, or the lingering silence when a father or mother deploys, or the deafening silence when the flag is handed to a grieving loved one. Their silence is profound and is a living testament to their service to their loved ones.
Silence today is rare. Like Soldiers on a battlefield, we are bombarded from all directions with noise. Some people avoid the emptiness of silence and seek to fill its void with voices and sound. Some see silence as inaction, but this silence today is a silence full of meaning, message and purpose.
Silence, like sleep, has a way of healing our spirits. This silence gives us pause from our hectic lives to remember and to find a healing peace in our remembrance of the Soldiers of the past. In this silence we open our spirits to feel the depth of their service and sacrifice, and we honor them by silencing our own personal cannons to give them the full measure of our respect.