The history of a nation is its National Treasure that must be remembered, studied, respected, and, most importantly, taught to the children of each generation. It is a unique saga that binds us to the heroes of the past, teaches us the moral basis for our laws and our governmental institutions, and instructs us how to approach the challenges of the future. It allows us to celebrate our successes with pride and learn from our failures so we can avoid repeating previous mistakes.
As an example, the Old Testament, the Five Books of Moses, is the story of the Children of Israel’s journey from Genesis to the Promised Land. It originated as an oral history, eventually written down by scribes on holy scrolls. Each Sabbath, a portion was read aloud to the people so that their entire history was taught to all each year. The recitation of that history bound the Children of Israel together so that they could survive centuries of oppression and the Holocaust to return to the Promised Land in our time.
In our digital age, recording history is not the issue. Anyone with a cellphone camera can be a reporter at the scene of the crime. One would think that live videos could be accepted as fact, but the digital wizards have also given us the tools to edit and amend videos to bend the truth to fit anyone’s personal agenda.
We are at the mercy of a giant media empire that feeds us fabricated history filled with propaganda, half-truths, and lies to enforce the compliance and obedience of an apathetic public, ignorant of the facts and incapable of logical thought processes.
More than ever before, it is essential that we use any available platform to teach the true history of America, to speak about the greatness of our nation, and to honor those who have served and fought to protect our constitutional freedoms.
Lieutenant Colonel Bobby Brookshire, a decorated veteran of multiple combat tours in the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan, was one of our guest speakers during the Ninth Annual Benghazi-Twin Towers Memorial Ride this year. His speech about the history of Veterans Day and Memorial Day National Holidays, printed below, reminds us of the enormous debt we owe to our nation’s veterans and serves as a lesson all must learn if we are to save the soul of our nation.
Since 1776 more than 40 million American men and women have served in the Armed Forces of the United States, most of them during periods of conflict or war. This number represents less than 1% of America’s total population alive during that same time period. Since the birth of our Nation, no single generation has been spared the responsibility of defending the rights of the human spirit to breathe free from the aggression of enemies both abroad and domestic. From Lexington and Concord to Fort McHenry, from the mountains of Europe and the sands of the Pacific Islands to the deserts of the Middle East, on land, on sea, and in the air, America’s finest have proudly worn the uniforms of United States Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and now most recently, the Space Force.
Freedom is NOT Free. More than 1.4 million of our country’s sons and daughters have given their lives to preserve the dream that was born on July 4th, 1776. To each of them we owe a debt of gratitude for sacrificing all that they had, so that we may enjoy all that we have.
Defending freedom is not just a matter of facing a hostile enemy in time of war or conflict. Every veteran, whether in combat duty or peace time service, is in some measure, a Hero. Heroism is as much a matter of attitude as one of action. Every man or woman who has proudly worn the uniform of one of our military services, by that very action, demonstrated that they were WILLING to pay the ULTIMATE Price to protect the Freedom of all citizens of this great country. As a people, we owe our respect and admiration to all these DEFENDERS OF FREEDOM – OUR VETERANS.
The History of Veterans Day
World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28th, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. Fighting had ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, a temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied Nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11th, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
In November, 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11th as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words:
“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 . . . ”
On May 13th, 1938, Congress made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday – a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.”
Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor Veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen in the Nation’s history and after American Forces had fought Communist aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1st, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American Veterans of all wars.
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