On Oct. 12, 1954, the president of the United States proclaimed that November the 11th would henceforth be Veterans Day. From that official order: “On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”
That president was Dwight D. Eisenhower, a particularly distinguished veteran who knew all too well about those “sacrifices.”
Our nation’s military has served, and continues to serve, with remarkable distinction in war and peace. Our men and women in uniform are still in harm’s way in Afghanistan — and elsewhere.
Yet they also perform life-saving duties at home — including the vital assistance they recently provided when Hurricane Sandy wrought devastation from North Carolina to New England.
Our community, which has a rich and proud connection to the military, has been making a Veterans Day weekend of it.
Among the local celebrations: Notre Dame’s 57-51 Carrier Classic victory over Ohio State on Friday in a women’s college basketball game on the deck of the Yorktown. Unfortunately, evening condensation then left the court so wet that the Ohio State-Marquette men’s game, scheduled for Friday night on the storied ship, had to be canceled.
But the weather was grand for parades Friday in North Charleston and Saturday in Charleston. And Summerville’s holding its annual Veterans Day ceremony today.
Back to President Eisenhower. From his first inaugural address on Jan. 20, 1953: “History does not entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid.”
But Americans have always entrusted the care of their freedom to our gallant armed forces — and they’ve always done their duty with inspiring courage and skill.
So on this special day — or any other day — thank our military members, past and present, for their indispensable contributions to not just the freedom of Americans, but the freedom of people all over the world.