Why do we celebrate Veteran’s Day? Lately as with any holiday Corporate America has morphed this solemn day of remembrance and celebrations of the warriors of now and past. Into an opportunity to make the almighty dollar. As a good friend of mine put it, buy a mattress to celebrate Veteran’s Day. Why can’t we just leave it at thank you for your service? I am beginning to feel like we are losing ourselves!
“On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.” (1918) Was the day that the armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect and for that reason, November 11, 1918 is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.” The following year was the first commemoration of Armistice Day.
“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…” President Woodrow Wilson, 28th President
- An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday.
- 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 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
In December of 1985 I joined the United States Air Force in my pursuit of becoming a police officer. The easiest way to do this was to join the military. I had absolutely no problem with this. Being an extremely patriotic person, this made sense. My Basic Training and Technical School were both at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Yeah, you know I’m a New England girl? I ran into people who 1. could not understand me (my accent… ya, I pahk my cah at the Hahvad yahd. What of it?) and 2. This one is crazy, I met people who did not know that Massachusetts was in America! I know! This caused some problems, as my TI (Techinical Instructor) was hispanic and would think I was making fun of her or being contradictory. It wasn’t until the day I graduated to Technical School that she asked me if I had been being a wise guy. We had a good laugh at that one! The second type of people i just stayed away from! It was better for them that way!
Tech School was in a different part of the base. Confusion did happen with Basic Trainees and Graduates in the same place. I was bellowed at one day by a TI who thought I was running amok, ie, walking down the sidewalk by myself. As I crossed the street to him, he saw my graduation pin… and became human and flirty! My flight (group) had 72 people in it. 13 Marines (the Corp uses the other service’s tech schools), 11 AF women and the rest were AF men. I had the great honor of being dubbed a honorary Marine. I beat WMs (women marines) at war games that we played.
My first duty station was Hellenikon AB, Greece. It was mostly wonderful. I love the food, the Plaka, all the history and my daughter was made here. What I did not love was the targeting of our base and people by terrorists. I really enjoyed looking down the wrong end of an uzi! If you never have I strongly suggest it. What I am saying is, no don’t do it! I was standing guard at our billeting, which was off base. A car load of men pulled up in front of me and pointed an Uzi out the car window at me. They all had a big laugh and then drove away.
Further into the time that I was at Hellenikon, I had injured myself and could no longer carry the extra weight needed to as a Law Enforcement Specialist so I cross-trained to Airfield Management/Flight Data Specialist and worked with the Air Traffic Controllers.
My next duty station was Malmstrom AFB, MT. Big Sky Country, for miles and miles. You can actually drive for miles and you are not in a town. You are in Bureau of Land Management areas. Nothing to see but sky. Oh, and fire. I was there in 1988. That was the year that Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks were on fire! I arrived in June and they had just begun. This was also the month that I gave birth to my baby girl, Calandra. Gram and Aunt came out in September to visit and by this time the fires were so bad that the sky was yellow and you could see flames on the mountains that surrounded the town of Great Falls. Cali went back home with them when they returned to Salisbury, MA. In October I went and picked her up, as the snows had fallen and put out the fires.
This was right around the time that I first met a shy and reserved airman. That, unbeknownst to me, was to become The Fireman and the love of my life. Calandra and Patrick connected right away and it was as it was meant to be. I was Honorably Discharged and we married in July of 1990. Off we went to RAF Alconbury, UK for three years. Since England needs a whole post in itself I will leave it at that.
Patrick was Honorably Discharged and then joined the USAF Reserves. He was first stationed at Westover AFR Base, MA. When 9/11 happened he went to Ali Al Salem, Kuwait in response to it. It was hard, but it was what he had to do. You raise your hand and swear to defend your country against all enemies foreign and domestic. You don’t pick and choose when you do this!
When he returned from the desert, he changed his duty station to Hill AFB, UT and this is where he retired from as a Master Sargent.
Serving our country is very important to us. Honoring those whom served before, with and after us is not only right but is our duty!
Thank you for all you do. You make us proud! If you anyone in military uniform; shake their hand, say thank you or buy them a coffee because, if it weren’t for them! You would not be doing what you are now!