Veterans’ Day Today

Veterans’ Day Today
By D.M. Stoddard, USN (ret.)

Sleep now, oh brethren.
Do not furrow thy brow.
Peace and freedom you set,
Quietly lumbers on.

Protection cast of old,
Like blanket on a bed.
Our rights  claimed heedlessly,
Our nation struggles on.

Our opportunities,
We gain your sacrifice.
Sleep now, oh brethren.
We honor you today.


To me, there is not a more powerful image of sacrifice than the USS Arizona Memorial. I have visited it several times, but its the timeless image of the photograph that take my breath, focusing my heart on the unprovoked loss of December 7, 1941. And it is that loss that has come to represent the Veterans’ sacrafices to me.

The USS Arizona (BB-39) was a magnificent ship. At 7:48 am the crew, like the rest of Pearl Harbor and Hawaii, were just waking up. Just for being present and willing to serve, 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors and Marines made the ultimate sacrifice.







Certainly our veterans have provided for our safety, peace, and freedom for hundreds of years. I was reminded yesterday that Veterans’ Day arose from World War I Armistice Day, which occurred at 11:00 am on November 11, 1918 – “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”. It is impossible to capture more than the essence of their sacrifice, but here are some other images that move me.











Despite our best intentions, some of our brethern are left behind on battlefields or disappear into the smoke of the skirmish. My step-uncle disappeared over the South China Sea in World War II.

After their service, most Veterans are laid to rest in local and national cemeteries. There are memorial cemeteries all over the world where United States military rest. For each and every veteran, a symbol of honor for their final resting place is Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.




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