Honoring our American Veterans

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November 11 is remembered in the UK, Canada and many allied countries as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day - the day that the First World War came to an end - but in the United States, its name has evolved over time to honor the service of millions of other living veterans.

"Our veterans have bravely and proudly carried the burden of defending this country by their honorable service during war and peacetime".

When the Soviet empire collapsed in 1991 and democracy spread throughout eastern Europe, it seemed for a short while that the dream of peace would finally ensue as after World War I. But armed warfare continued to involve the U.S. Army throughout the 1990s in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and elsewhere. We have plenty of organizations locally that serve veterans, such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, AMVETS and others.

Apatang, a Vietnam War veteran himself, will join with other veterans, government officials and community members during the Veterans Day commemoration today, Friday, at American Memorial Park in Garapan.

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It appears there will not be a day in our lifetimes when American men and women aren't out there defending us, for we have been at war without pause ever since the 9/11 attacks.

"Si Yu'us Ma'ase to all war veterans, all Vietnam Veterans, veterans who have fallen, veterans who are still with us, to all now in the USA armed forces on active duty and to all their families", Apatang said.

In remembering these heroes from the past, this Veterans Day offers us a great opportunity to also remember those who live among us and who rank high in our estimation as important to the present and future of a great land. Pride in the men and women of the military is one thing that continues to unite most Americans, even during divisive times. Today, 7,000 merchant mariners crew the naval auxiliaries of the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command, and many more stand ready to man the Ready Reserve Force (RRF) fleet in time of need. So at the urging of the veterans service organizations, the 83rd Congress amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans".

But new problems were on the way.

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As bad as World War I was, however, the "War to End All Wars" was only a dream.

Of the 16 million Americans who served during World War II, about 558,000 are still alive. This very large cohort of nearly 10 percent of that generation served on active duty, nearly 9 million serving during that era.

Just a scant 20 years later a rearmed Germany, now aligned with Italy and Japan, invaded Poland, Sept. 1, 1939, plunging the world again into global war.

On board this 18th Honor Flight were 10 World War II veterans, 74 Korean War veterans and two Vietnam veterans. But we can not argue with the commitment of these men and women fulfilling their duty with every breath they take. The holiday became Veterans Day. George Grow was the editor.

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