The men and women in uniform who defend the rights and freedoms we enjoy in this country are true heroes. November 11 is the date set aside to recognize the selflessness and bravery of the U.S. military, both today and yesterday.
Without the valiant effort of veterans, we would not have the freedoms we now enjoy. Their sacrifices have preserved our nation through its most difficult days. The men and women of the armed forces who have risked their lives in service to this country deserve our respect, and Veteran’s Day allows us to repay some of that respect with open appreciation. It also gives us a special occasion to honor those currently in combat, fighting on our behalf.
For 98 years now, Nov. 11 has been set aside as a federal holiday dedicated to the cause of world peace. Pres. Woodrow Wilson declared the first “Armistice Day” to recognize the service of American soldiers and our allies in defeating Germany and her allies in “the war to end all wars.”
The word “armistice” was later replaced to recognize the service of our military personnel in World War II and the Korean War, and Pres. Dwight Eisenhower issued the first “Veterans Day Proclamation” in 1954.
For many years, we have marked Veterans Day with parades, solemn ceremonies at military cemeteries and gatherings that will take place across the state.
At Arlington National Cemetery, ceremonies take place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which represents the brave missing and unknown service members from four different wars. The president, or his representative, will place a wreath at the tomb, followed by the playing of “Taps.”
There are more than 25 million living Americans who we recognize as veterans or retired military. These veterans have fought in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and other conflicts. In our state, we recognize the 488,220 veterans, along with 34,786 active and reserve guard members.
Regardless of when a veteran served, the shared experiences create a common bond that will, and does, last a lifetime. The oath we take dedicates our lives to service of country. And whether we serve at home or abroad, we have all worked to reinforce the greatest fighting force in the world.
We truly are a blessed nation and have been since our founding. The brave and the bold who led the charge for a United States of America understood the price of freedom. They were confident this new republic would stand the test of time, but realized it would not come without sacrifice.
These same founders would be pleased today to say thank you to the many who have fought to preserve and defend the United States of America. Young and old alike, who stepped forward during a time of need and answered America’s call to defend freedom; a call to liberate; a call to risk their lives for something greater.
Honoring our veterans and our military personnel remains one of the Legislature’s highest priorities. As we approach Nov. 11, Veterans Day, I ask each of you to take a few moments out of your day to thank someone who has so admirably and courageously served this great country. Each of our veterans are owed a debt of gratitude for their selfless service to our great country.
As always, I appreciate it when groups from around Missouri and from our community back home come to visit me at the Capitol. If you would like to arrange a time to come and visit me in Jefferson City, or if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my Capitol office at (573) 751-1882.