World War I was regarded as the “war to end all wars.” On November 11, 1919, one year after the end of World War I, the United States celebrated Armistice Day, to pay honor to those who had died in service to their country. President Woodrow Wilson declared:
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.”
The end of World War I was not the end of all wars. Wars have been fought since then and continue to be fought today. Armistice Day, in 1954, by an Act of Congress, was changed to Veterans Day to honor all veterans.
My oldest brother served in the U.S. Army. As a boy, he was always interested in the military. He played war board games and built model tanks. When he joined the U.S. Army in 1984, it seemed like a natural progression in life. I visited my brother while he was stationed in Georgia in 1990, after the birth of his first daughter. We went for a walk and I teased him about joining the Army – that there would never be another war. What I didn’t know, but he did, during that walk, was that there would be another war, and very soon. Shortly after our visit, my brother left his family and risked everything as a soldier going to war in Kuwait. Suddenly a part of my heart was somewhere in a foreign land with him, and what was happening there was much more than just a sound bite on the evening news.
Since my brother retired from the Army, I call him each Veterans Day and thank him for his military service, feeling he appreciates the call and the opportunity for us to talk. So, it was with great interest that I read a The New York Times article (February 2015) with the surprising title, Please Don’t Thank Me for My Service. The article offered a different perspective on what recent veterans may need and what more can be done for them than a simple thank you. The article stated, “To some recent vets – by no stretch all of them – the thanks comes across as shallow, disconnected, a reflective offering from people who, while meaning well, have no clue what soldiers did over there or what motivated them to go….” The article continued that some veterans “are uncomfortable about being thanked.…” Mike Freedman, a Green Beret veteran, suggested that instead of saying thank you, “promise to vote next time” or “offer a scholarship or job”.
Today, all of us at Hoey & Farina would like to recognize the many veterans who have served in our country’s military. We would also like to share with our readers a link on ways to help support veterans and service members - http://www.military.com/veterans-day/ways-to-give-back-to-veterans.html. We encourage you to do whatever you can to help our military veterans and active service members.
Written by Cindy R. Stahler
Hoey & Farina, P.C.