Veterans deserve our thanks

Photo by Dave Bergmeier

In November we will mark one of the most important holidays in America, which is Veterans Day.

Formerly Armistice Day, Nov. 11 is the anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I in 1918, according to The Associated Press. Anyone who has served or is currently serving in a branch of the military deserves our deep gratitude. In the High Plains region there are towns and communities that continue to have Veterans Day parades and remembrance activities.

Attending those events provides an opportunity to say thanks and share time with others who also have an appreciation for the commitment of men and women who put their careers on hold to serve their country. In the above photo the Bucklin, Kansas, band played patriotic music as part of the November 2020 parade and remembrance ceremony.

Many stories have been told about the sacrifice young farm boys made during World War I and World War II to serve their country. During World War II—with a very short training schedule—they were sent overseas either to the European or Pacific theatres to end the threat of Nazi Germany and the other Axis countries of Italy and Japan. Those threats were very real to freedom-loving people like Americans.

As the supreme Allied Forces commander in Europe, Five Star Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, who knew his way around the farm, knew what to do when allies ended the fighting. He opened concentration camps so that the media and soldiers see firsthand what unchecked evil can do. Ike also hoped it would end the world’s thirst for war.

As noble as Ike was, scripture reminds us that wars are part of our fallen human nature. More conflicts occurred from Korea, Vietnam to the Persian Gulf and the early part of this century with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. and Europe have also been at work in helping Ukrainians following the invasion by Russia in February. That invasion has added to market opportunities and uncertainty in grain prices and for escalating inputs costs. It has heightened global food insecurity.

Ultimately, ongoing and future strife will mean that young men and women—predominantly from the United States—will be needed to help restore order in a world that rarely embraces it. One could make a case that today’s soldiers face even greater challenges than those who served several generations ago.

Veterans Day is a reminder that peace, stability and prosperity come at a price that few understand although Eisenhower was one statesman who did. Each Veterans Day is an opportunity to pay homage to those who in some cases never came home and celebrate those who did. Veterans understood the commitment they made for us to have our opportunity for peace, stability and prosperity.

Even the simplest of gestures like saying, “Thank you for your service” and taking time to attend a local community service add to our own knowledge of the sacrifices many have made on our behalf.

Editor’s note: This column first appeared in 2022. Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].