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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



For many of you this week, Wednesday will just be another day. The middle of your work week, a day where the mail won’t get delivered, some banks will be closed and otherwise might just roll along as every day has. But this day is special to a lot of people as we commemorate Veterans Day.

First known as Armistice Day, November 11th became a national holiday by an act of Congress in 1926, although it would be 1953 before it became known as Veterans Day. The day is marked in history by the signing of the Armistice on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, ending hostilities in World War I, although fighting continued in some areas of the old Ottoman Empire and in Russia.

Reading the accounts of those final hours of the war some times amazes and befuddles one. The spring offense by the Germans was meant to run the Allies from the trenches before the arrival of American troops but the Allies held their ground and at the battle of the River Marne the Germans were pushed back. In one final desperate act on August 8th the British launched a counter attack at Amiens and struck the fatal blow that the German army would never recover from. At this point American troops were pouring into the lines at the rate of 300,000 troops per day, overwhelming the Germans and people on both sides knew the conflict would end soon.

On November 7th the Germans approached the French line under a white flag and asked for negotiations of peace. The supreme allied commander would have none of that and told the Germans that they had 72 hours from the 8th to the 11th to accept the only terms that were acceptable, full and total surrender. The message from German high command to the German commanders in the field was intercepted and by 5:10 a.m. on the morning of the 11th, word was passed along the Allied lines that Germany would surrender and that the hostilities would cease at 11 a.m. that day.

There have been many things written about that last day, including the useless slaughter of more than 11,000 Americans because a General wanted to have one more battle under his belt by ordering his troops over the top at 10:30 a.m. that morning. But at 11 a.m. what had by that point become the most horrible killing spree in human history ended and a strange calm floated across the trenches.

One can read about the battles, the trench warfare, the horrible use of gas and wonder how anyone survived. If you read enough, you’ll understand what it must have been like. So on this day we honor those doughboys for their sacrifice, and we honor all those who have fought and died for freedom, not only in this company, but across the world.

The last of the boys who fought in the War to End All Wars is now gone, spending their eternities in the company of their comrades, and with each passing day we forget about that war a little more. The brave men and women who answered their countries call in the next war are slowly slipping away from us as well. What has been defined as the greatest generation is slowly slipping away into history and it is important that we take the time to understand the sacrifice of those who have served before it is too late.

For those of you reading this column, I challenge each of you to take time this week to honor the Veterans amongst us. Your sacrifice was not only great, but allowed freedom to extend its warm touch around the world. You are my hero’s, the people of my youth who formed the memories I carry with me today, and have become my friends. I honor you today, and pledge that as long as I am able to carry your memory with me and to tell others about you, that you and the brothers left on foreign shores shall not be forgotten.

See you next week. Remember, we’re all in this together.