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Veterans Day

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in the year 1918, hostilities ended between Allied troops and Germany. At the time, Nov. 11 became known as Armistice Day signifying the end of the "war to end all wars."

Of course, history didn't play out that way. In fact, it was the children of the brave World War I veterans who were thrust into the largest mobilization of U.S. forces ever during World War II.

Some of that generation and the next saw war-time duty in southeast Asia. For their children, the primary area of attention was the Middle East. Today, we still have troops in Afghanistan -- but keep our eyes focused on many regions. Real and perceived threats exist in Iran, Iraq, Syria, the Far East, the Middle East and Africa.

In short, there has been no shortage of those willing to threaten these United States of America. Throughout it all, there also has been no shortage of our own men and women willing to take up arms in the defense of our great nation.

So many have died or been wounded that Armistice Day has transformed to Veterans Day in order to have a holiday large enough to accommodate generations of those who have served.

It is fitting to recognize military members past and present throughout the year. But like so many other aspects of life we tend to take for granted, we require a designated date to bring the memories to the forefront. So be it. Monday is when Veterans Day lands this year.

Military men and women take up the cause for a much larger purpose than a parade or a salute once a year. They do it for love of country. There is no other way to rationalize a willingness to endure the ultimate sacrifice.

Veterans Day should be observed primarily by those who have never donned a uniform. Thanks and gratitude should be offered to the armed services members -- dead and alive -- whose contributions allow all of us to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness on a daily basis.

In the spirit of the original Armistice Day, it also should be a time for all citizens to help perpetuate peace throughout the world through good will and an understanding of others.

We salute every past, present and future member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard and their respective National Guard and Reserve components. America's freedoms have been paid for repeatedly by your courageous acts.

Editorial by Patrick Lowry

plowry@dailynews.net