Kudos to our Veterans! November 11 is Veterans Day. A day set aside to thank, as well as to remember, those who serve and have served our country in uniform in times of war and peace. It goes without saying that a strong, well trained, and effective military, is a cornerstone to preserving our American way of life; as well as providing a defense for democracies around the globe. Without it, our country, and the world itself would look very different.Why November 11? November 11, 1918, also known as Armistice Day, was the day the fighting in World War One officially ended. Up until that point, WW1 was the most destructive war the world had seen, causing 70 million deaths worldwide, including the deaths of 117,000 US military personnel and another 204,000 injured. The armistice was concluded on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour in 1918. Armistice Day became a legal federal holiday in the US in 1938, “dedicated to the cause of world peace”.Who is a veteran? A veteran is anyone that serves or has served honorably in the military, naval, or air services of the United States. These services include the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. According to the US Census, there are 21,369,602 veterans (active and retired) in the US, – with 303,087 in MassachusettsWhat kind of person joins the Military? The US military represents the very best of American men and women. People that are motivated by patriotism, the desire to serve and help others, and to save lives. People that may be called to give the ultimate sacrifice, or at a minimum, sacrifice of a portion of their lives for the greater good. The military is a crucible, intent upon bringing out and refining the individual traits that can best support its missions. Traits that include good character, integrity, teamwork, intelligence, as well as emotional and physical strength. The military puts raw recruits on a fast track to self-reliance and maturity. Hundreds of vocations are available in the service, many of which can be translated into civilian careers. A strong personal foundation can be built in the service; and it can last a life time. It isn’t easy, but for those that take part in the military it can be well worth it.
• 6.5% of the US population are veterans. Everybody knows somebody who is a veteran
• 92% of veterans are men, 8% are women
• Current Active Duty personnel by Service in 2018:o Army – 471,271o Navy – 320,101o Air Force – 312,723o Marine Corps – 183,501
• The largest military draft that took place was during WW2 – 10 million personnel
• The Marine Corps has never drafted. It has always been a volunteer force
• The largest American amphibious attack was not D Day in France; it was the Battle for Okinawa, in the Pacific, with a combined Army and Marine Corps assault force of 183,000.Summary Veterans occupy a special place in American society.
We all know someone in our family, and our families’ history who is or was a veteran. For example in my family, my grandmother’s brother, Warren Joyce, (from Whitman) fought in the US army in WW1. He was killed in France in 1918 at 17 years old. He died in battle 2 weeks before Armistice was signed. Joyce Avenue in Whitman is named for him. My grandmother, who lived into her 90’s, never got over it. My wife’s uncle, Teddy Sullivan, (from Norwood) served for the Coast Guard as a young man in WW2. He told me first hand of the battles he witnessed, both for the Philippines and Iwo Jima; with Japanese kamikaze planes narrowly missing his ship – and sinking other ships just yards away (and killing those on board) – A terrible thing to experience… These are just two stories from an average American family. There are many other similar stories that can be told in nearly every family across the countryIn both war and peace veterans make sacrifices, in the defense of our freedoms and the American way of life. Please remember our veterans this November 11, and thank them for their service.
Steve Nickerson is a 26 year resident of Mansfield, and a veteran of the US Marine Corps. He is the Vice Chairman of the Mansfield Republican Town Committee – www.mansfieldgop.com,. The opinions he expresses are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the committee members.