After World War II, it was renamed Veterans Day as we had had another world war and a lot more veterans. Interestingly enough, Hitler had the French sign their capitulation agreement with the Germans during World War II in the same railway car as the allies had had the Germans sign the peace treaty for World War I. He did that as a put-down to the French and the allies.
Students today don’t really understand why we recognize veterans on this day each year. They don’t understand the sacrifices not only soldiers make but their families as well. During World War II, many things were rationed on the home scene so that material would be available for the war effort’s supplies. Gasoline, rubber and nylon were some of the things that were in short supply during World War II. The soldiers often lived in horrible conditions and didn’t know for sure when they would see their homes again as they were in for the duration of the war.
During the Korean War, which was known as a policing action, the soldiers had to experience the extremely cold Korean winter. I’m sure if you were to ask a Korean War veteran if his service was in a policing action or a war, I’m sure he would tell you it was a war.
Veterans Day does not only pay homage to male soldiers but female soldiers as well. Many veterans are female. They have served just as honorably as their male counterparts and deserve the same accolades.
It used to be that every male had to register for the draft at 18. That still is true; however, the draft is not in effect and we depend on the all-volunteer military now. The infrastructure is in place for the draft and that is why all males at 18 are required to register for the draft. If they fail to do this, they will not be eligible for school loans. Once they are registered, they are eligible.
Because we have the all-volunteer military now, the effects of our wars are not universal to all the population of our country. Unlike World War II when almost every male of military age was in the military, we don’t have that today and, consequently, our people only feel the war from afar for the most part. That is not to say that wars are any less destructive in terms of loss of life or equipment. But the average American does not have much of an understanding of the devastation in human terms that wars, in general, mete out on those who have the experience of that war up close and personal, both for them and their families.
Today, of all days, everyone should fly their flags high and with great pride to show the respect that is due all our country’s veterans.
Larry Wilson is a 50-year resident of Sparks and a retired elementary school teacher. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.