top of page

Opinion: Honoring our veterans

Monday is a day designated to honor military veterans both living and dead. According to the United States Department of Defense, many people confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day.

Memorial Day honors those veterans who have died. Veterans Day is a day designated to honor all those who served in the military living or dead. The DOD states that the correct spelling is Veterans Day, plural no apostrophe required.

Originally was known as Armistice Day it commemorated the 1918 signing of the armistice between the United States and Germany ending World War I. The document was signed at the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month

Therefore, Nov. 11, 1918, was considered the end of “the war to end all wars” and dubbed Armistice Day. In 1926, Congress officially recognized it as the end of the war, and in 1938, it became an official holiday, primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I.

Then World War II and Korea happened so on June 1, 1954, at the urging of veterans service organizations, Congress amended the commemoration yet again by changing the word armistice to veterans so the day would honor American veterans of all wars living or dead, said the DOD.

Ironically, WWI was known as the war to end all wars, until WWII rolled around followed by Korea and Vietnam. The last two were technically conflicts, not wars. Those who died there or lost loved ones fail to see the distinction.

My family got very lucky during the Vietnam War. When it became apparent my oldest brother, Rocky Hill was about to be drafted, he enlisted in the army. If I remember the story correctly by enlisting, he had a better choice of assignments than had he been drafted. He trained to fix helicopter radios and deployed to Vietnam.

About six months after arriving in Vietnam the solider that ran the enlisted men’s club got sent home. Rocky got his job and spent the rest of his time in Vietnam tending bar. In the meantime, our middle brother Brian got his draft notice and he too went into the army. Because one brother was already serving in Vietnam, Brian was sent to Korea where the US still maintained a presence. Because of the typing classes, he took in high school he qualified as a clerk typist.

Rocky signed on for a second tour in Vietnam since he had a relatively safe posting. He stayed there until after Brian’s discharge keeping him in a safer post.

Neither brother talked much about their war experiences overseas. They shared a few funny stories about friends they made but not much else. They made it sound like a trip to summer camp at least when my mother and I could hear. I suspected they saved the bad stories for each other if they discussed them at all.

In 1973, the military draft ended under the administration of President Richard M. Nixon. Young men are still required to register for the draft, according to an article by Elliot Ackerman in Time magazine. Registering for the draft is automatic when applying for a driver’s license or federal student aid.

Our military continues to be an engine of societal mobility It also needs to return to being what it once was, a societal leveler, in which men and women of diverse backgrounds, at an impressionable age, were forced together in the pursuit of a mission larger than themselves, said Ackerman.

I think it would be a good idea for all kids to spend a couple of years in public service. Those interested could serve in the military while everyone involved could learn a trade.

The country’s infrastructure is in desperate need of repair, graffiti mars too many buildings and litter covers much of the landscape. An army of strong young men and women could do a world of good in these areas. It would also force them out of their parent’s home and their comfort zone requiring them to grow up.

Local services honoring Veterans Day will commence at 11 a.m. Monday in Courthouse Park.

Long days and pleasant nights, have a good weekend.

• • •

Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.

bottom of page