My column for the West Bend Daily News is online. It felt good to turn away from politics for a moment. Here it is.
Thank a vet
Election Day gives way to Veterans Day
Now that the hostilities of the election season have just about come to an end, we can turn our attention to the things that unify us as a nation and remind us of how blessed we are to be Americans. Ninety-six years ago on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the booming guns of “The War to End All Wars” fell silent.
A year after the end of hostilities in The Great War, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first commemoration of Armistice Day by saying, “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.”
Since then, a grateful nation has broadened the scope of Armistice Day to include all veterans who served either in war or peace, and renamed the day Veterans Day. Americans set aside Nov. 11 each year to look back, and look around, to thank veterans for their sacrifices in service to our liberty. It is a fitting day for such a remembrance. That Nov. 11 in 1918 was a day that began with the roar of guns and cries of the dying, but ended with the serene silence of peace. While liberty too often requires the shedding of blood in order to be preserved, it is the fervent prayer of a free people that the sun should always set upon a peaceful planet so that no more sacrifices will be needed from our brave veterans.
On Veterans Day this year, the Milwaukee Children’s Choir will perform “American Homeland: A Veterans Day Concert,” to honor veterans. The concert will be performed at the Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School Performing Arts Center in Jackson at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at Jeff’s Spirits on Main in West Bend, or at the door.
Thanks to a generous sponsorship by Delta Defense LLC of West Bend, 100 percent of the proceeds from the concert will be donated to Fisher House Wisconsin, which provides a free “home away from home” for veterans’ families who are receiving treatment at the Clement J. Zablocki Veterans Administration Medical Center in Milwaukee.
Due to the high number of veterans who receive treatment in Milwaukee – including more than 8,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — Fisher House is planning to build a 13,000-square-foot facility that will be able to house 128 family members of veterans so that they can be near their loved ones at no cost during their course of treatment. There are few more enjoyable ways to help veterans and their families than by listening to the renowned Milwaukee Children’s Choir sing tributes to honor our veterans.
There are more than 20 million veterans in America who served our nation with honor and pride. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of this year, please take a moment to stop and think of the sacrifices they have made to protect and preserve the freedom that we all enjoy. And whether by thought, word, or deed, thank a vet.
(Owen Robinson’s column runs Tuesdays in the Daily News.)