WASHINGTON — It was on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 that the opposing nations signed a treaty ending World War I. Armistice Day was established a year later in remembrance, and it was in 1954 that a bill was passed creating what we know as Veterans Day.
It's the day of the year that we celebrate our honored military veterans. All the brave men and women who have served this country in our armed forces. No matter which branches they served in, or job they may have done, each were pledged to the same goal: The safety of the citizens of this nation, and the upholding of the ideals we claim to live by. The pursuits of truth, fairness, equality and justice for all.
As we look across our landscape this Veterans Day, we see that these ideals are in short supply. Truth is oftentimes shaped by its teller to bolster a point. Fairness and equality applied sparingly, and justice, as we have seen, is not a given.
How can we on the one hand rightfully praise and thank our veterans for their service, and then on the other show disdain for what they committed themselves to? What all of them fought for and some of them died for?
We have seen an absence or intolerance of the things that truly make this country great, like the right to peacefully gather in protest; a free and fair election system open to all citizens equally; elections whose results are respected, no matter how much they may sting; political leaders who put the good of the nation above their partisan concerns.
This is the model that made this nation a leader on the world stage, and an example for others to emulate. It's the model that our brothers and sisters in uniform proudly show the world. We have fallen far short of this example.
We will collectively thank veterans today, telling them how much they and their service meant to us. As we should. But we then need to honor that service by living up to the ideals that they were willing to lay down their lives for. Their commitment, their sacrifices, deserve no less.
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