A Veterans' Day 2002 Message

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By Ralph G. Fatello, Commander

Hamptons' American Legion Post 35

Atlantic News, Thursday, November 7, 2002

World War One was supposed to be the war to end all wars. That was wishful thinking if there ever was one.

Unfortunately, there have been a few more since the Great War of 1917. Most of them having been more costly in terms of casualties than World War One. WWII, Korea, and Vietnam had more KIAs ("killed in action") than WWI.

All of the wars since WWI have had huge numbers of Americans who served proudly. Since 1917, our nation has been involved in many wars and many conflicts. There were the three major wars already mentioned, and a significant number of small engagements, such as Beirut, Grenada and Panama. The last major war prior to September 11, 2001 was the Gulf War. The current War on Terrorism has involved hundreds of thousands of America's best.

The majority of those who have served in the military since WWI have never seen combat. It's true. But they are Veterans. You don't have to be in combat to be a Veteran. You just have to raise your hand and take the oath to defend your country.

For as anyone who's ever served in the military will tell you, it takes many men and women to support a combat unit in the field. The troops in the field could NOT do their job without the many dedicated support units. It's important to know that fact, because many do not.

I personally know of some Veterans who feel that their individual contribution to the war or conflict that they were involved with was unimportant. It upsets me to think that some of these honorable men and women would think their sacrifice as insignificant. All Veterans deserve our gratitude and respect.

We have millions of Veterans living in our country, with thousands right here on the Seacoast. This current War on Terrorism knows no boundaries, so each and every man and women in uniform runs the risk of being in harm's way on any given day. They are our future Veterans.

This Veterans' Day, I'm asking all of you to take the time to stop and thank a Vet — every Vet, whether they served in a combat theater or not. And please, spend extra time when chatting with the older WWII Vets. These men and women are living, breathing, historical reminders of our nation's greatest generation. Listen to them — they have something to say.

A simple "thank you" will go a long way in making all these Veterans feel good about themselves, as well as making you feel good about yourself.

Thank you, and God bless America.

Veterans Day

The Historical Significance Of Peace

The NH Marine Memorial
at Hampton Beach
By observing Veterans Day on November 11 each year, we not only preserve the historical significance of peace, but we also take time to celebrate America's veterans by paying tribute to their patriotism, love of their country, and willingness to serve, protect and sacrifice themselves for the common good.

Originally called Armistice Day (in reference to the armistice signed on November 11, 1918, thus ending World War I), it became an official, holiday in 1938 and was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 to honor all U.S. war veterans.

Like all things of great value, peace has not come cheaply. Today, millions of veterans, both living and deceased, fill our nation's honor rolls. Part of the cost of this freedom must be paid long after the cries of war have been silenced. Some veterans require the help of their country to recover from wounds or overcome the hardships of age and infirmity. And then there are some veterans who need, but ask nothing in return for the sacrifices they have made. November 11 is a day to honor these brave American men and women by recognizing their achievements. Our veterans have served in wars spanning centuries, from the American Revolution to the current War on Terrorism.

For as long as humankind exists, conflicts will probably occur somewhere in the world. But fortunately, the United States enjoys peace and Americans who have answered the call to serve whenever their country needed them. As a nation, we should never forget the historical significance of peace and freedom. And we should never forget the men and women who have made America strong and free.

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