Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
November 7, 2002
As a young child growing up in the landing pattern of Brooks Air Force Base in the years just following World War II, I felt then like the kid in the opening scenes of the Great Waldo Pepper. He was so enamored with the big low-flying birds in the sky and frankly so was I. To this day, I cannot help but look in amazement at planes flying overhead.
Little did I know as a child that my generation was to experience war as did the World War II generation, but in a very different way. The Viet Nam War was to test us in new ways. We were from the number one country in the world and yet we were confronted by a guerrilla war in a very foreign land across the globe. Worse yet, American resolve was not sufficient to do whatever it took to secure a victory.
None of this takes away however, from the valor exhibited by our fighting men and women. So it is that we take time to remember these brave souls that fought and died to secure the blessing of liberty to a people half way around the globe. Calling the actions of these men and women noble is an understatement. Repaying them is impossible. Appreciating them enough is a daunting task but the least we can do.
So it is that we have established a special day, among other ways to remember our veterans. From the Veteran's Day homepage, we are told that Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in lieu thereof 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.
Since the celebration and honoring of Veteran's Day is a 20th Century phenomenon, it really does not reach back into the foundation of our country in 1776. Yet if there is anything constant in our U.S. or even in our world history, it is the fighting of wars. Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant tells us that "in the last 3,421 years of recorded history only 268 have seen no war." Can our young country afford to ignore the reality of history?
Though embattled we are in this war on terrorism and the looming prospect of dealing with Iraq, our civic imperative at present would seem to remember those who gave for their country. Some of us may be called to action. All of us can take some form of action by building solid families and communities. As we have often heard it said, "the more you sweat in peacetime, the less you bleed in wartime". On this Veteran's Day and on every day, let us remember our heroes past and present. And, let us build this America to be all our ancestors envisioned and more: the American dream!