Fargo VA Health Care System
Veterans Day: a celebration and commitment
In November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as Armistice Day.
While we now recognize Nov. 11 as Veterans Day, what makes Nov. 11 significant?
The fighting of World War I ceased when an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.
Armistice Day was regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.” Unfortunately, as we are all aware, that did not prove to be the case and each year since 1919 we have continued to set aside a day of honor for all who have served in the armed forces.
During his speech proclaiming Nov. 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day, President Wilson said, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”
President Wilson’s words still hold true to this day. We observe Veterans Day not only as an opportunity to celebrate our Veterans for their patriotism and bravery, but also an opportunity to show them our gratitude for upholding the security and freedom we hold dear.
Past or present, every Veteran has a story and no matter what their story, all are heroes and all deserve thanks. For those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of our nation, they not only gave up their lives, they gave up their opportunities to be parents, to grow old and experience the joy of grandchildren, and to live out their hopes and dreams. While this is a debt that can never be fully repaid, the Department of Veterans Affairs can ensure their sacrifices were not in vain – that every generation of Veterans receives the care and benefits they have earned.
I am humbled and grateful that I have the privilege of serving as Director in a health care system whose mission is, in the words of President Abraham Lincoln, “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his children.”
Along with my Fargo VA Health Care System companions, I recommit myself to ensuring Veterans receive the care they have earned for their service and sacrifice. We are lucky in the VA because we have an opportunity every day to show our gratitude and make every day Veterans Day – a day of honor. I encourage our communities across North Dakota and Minnesota to continue their dedication to and support of our Veterans and their families as well as those who care for our Veterans.
The American poet and writer Eve Merriam once said, “I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, ‘Mother, what was war?’” Eve was not able to live out that dream, nor will we. We can and must, however, continue to recognize our selfless sisters and brothers who willingly serve and protect. For them, I am eternally grateful.
I wish everyone a very happy Veterans Day.
Fargo VA Health Care System Director