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Monday, July 15, 2024


Honoring All Who Served


By Herald Staff

Veterans Day is a time to honor all who served to protect and sustain our country and our way of life. This is not a day about only those who died in service to this country, but rather a time to celebrate all who stood watch in war and peace. 

The holiday took form following the devastation of World War I, the Great War as it was known at the time. It celebrated the armistice that ended the carnage. President Woodrow Wilson began the annual celebration of November 11 in an Armistice Day message in 1919. The day was made a legal holiday in 1938. “A day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace.”
The end of World War II began the process of broadening the holiday to one that celebrated all veterans. In 1954 Eisenhour signed legislation that renamed the holiday Veterans Day. 

Through the inexplicable actions of government, the remembrance of service moved to the last Monday in October until President Gerald Ford signed a bill in 1975 that returned the holiday to November 11. We have celebrated it on that day ever since.

Thirty-one presidents of the Unites States have had military service. The last to see combat was George H. W. Bush who flew 58 combat missions during World War II. His son, George W. Bush, served in the Texas Air National Guard.
Veterans Day has a special significance in Cape May County. The U. S. Census Bureau shows the county with the highest percentage of veterans among its population in New Jersey. The most recent Census count reports 6,732 veterans among a permanent population of 95,263, or 7.6%. 
While Veterans Day is a time to thank those who have served to protect our freedoms, it is also a day when we should remember our end of the bargain we implicitly make with those veterans. It is a time to remind ourselves of the challenges many veterans face after their service is over. It is a time to recommit to ensure our veterans are properly taken care of. 
Homelessness among veterans is a stain on our celebration of their service. Mental health issues among our veterans is a growing challenge. The transition back to civilian life can be very difficult for many of those who served. There are employment struggles, difficulty in accessing care and benefits, and for too many a sense of isolation. These are problems that belong to us not to them. They are on our to do list to fix. 
We need to ensure that when the day of celebration is over, we remain committed to addressing the problems our veterans face. Committed as citizens by holding our elected officials accountable in the ways they address these issues. We must remain committed as individuals for how we personally support veterans in our community, especially by helping to dispel that sense of isolation many of them experience when the structure of military life is removed. 
On Veterans Day, we celebrate the sacrifices made by our veterans. When the day is ended, we cannot put away that concern and appreciation for another year like a special set of clothes to be pressed and worn on a certain day. 
In Cape May County, the Department of Veteran Affairs reports that 75% of our veterans served in war time. The passage of time has diminished the numbers still with us who serviced in the conflicts of the first half of the twentieth century. Now the leading conflicts in which our wartime veterans served are Vietnam and the Gulf wars. These warriors and those who stood watch in peacetime deserve our attention and gratitude on more than a designated holiday. 
Let’s all use this holiday to recommit to their well-being.


From the Bible — Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.   Romans 12:9-10 

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