Giving Thanks to Our Nation’s Veterans

Chris Sharpe

Diving into the meaning and significance of one of our national holidays: Veterans Day.

November 11th is a day that means a lot to me and other American veterans. It is a day that carries a handful of emotions — some happy, some sad, and many thankful.

How Did Veterans Day Start?

Veterans Day originally started as Armistice Day, which signified the end of the 4-year long war known as World War I. In 1918, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, an agreement was signed between the Allies and Germany to cease hostilities on the western front. The first Armistice Day was recognized on November 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of the war. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower changed the name to Veterans Day, proclaiming it a day to thank and honor all American veterans, living or deceased.

What Veterans Day Means

Before serving 5 years in the United States Marine Corps, I did not completely understand the impact and importance that Veterans Day holds for many Americans. I knew that there were people who served our country and fought our wars. I knew that when our country was attacked, men and women signed up to fight back. But, I did not fully grasp the gravity of these actions and the weight that these people carried until I was in their shoes.

Regardless of military occupation or rank, the basic duty of our servicemen and women is to protect and defend this country against all threats both foreign and domestic. This means they must be ready to drop everything and respond to whatever may be going on that poses a threat to our country. Loved ones are embraced, families are left behind, and, for however long our country needs them, they are gone.

Some never go to war. Some never return. But everyone who has put on the uniform of the United States Military did so to ensure we can continue our way of life.

Each generation of veterans have faced their own hurdles, whether it was poor living conditions, extended time away from home, the horrors of battle, or readjusting to civilian life. The nature of military work is demanding and challenging, and, most of the time, the results are barely seen or acknowledged by the rest of America.

This is where Veterans Day steps in. It is a day of remembrance of the actions of those who are with us and those who are not. It is a day of gratitude to those whose work went unnoticed. And, it is a day of thanks for the women and men who dedicated a portion of their lives to the protection of what we hold dear.

The Challenge

This Veterans Day, I would challenge you to take a second to simply think about the sacrifices that have been made. Ponder the birthdays and holidays our veterans spent away from loved ones, all for the sake of our country. Regardless of your political beliefs or whether you agree that we should be involved in a conflict, take a second to appreciate the price that has been paid by our men and women. And if you know or recognize a veteran, take the time to thank them for their service to our country.

Other Ways to Say Thank You

Recognition of our veterans can come in different ways. For example, businesses can commit to hiring veterans not only for the relatable job skills they may have but for their ability to adapt, lead, and handle stressful environments. It is also important to be cognizant of situations and office layouts that may hinder the productivity of veterans that may be affected by PTSD. These are a couple of ways that employers and co-workers can continue to say thanks. I am proud to say that the community at SiteCrafting has shown their support and gratitude to me through these exact ways.

If you are looking for more ways to say thank you, check out the opportunities with the Disabled American Veterans. Also, take a look at the opportunities at the Tacoma Rescue Mission who provide a designated shelter space and staff to support veterans in Pierce County. SiteCrafting has volunteered with the Tacoma Rescue Mission before, and it was an amazing experience.