A Tribute to our Veterans
By Kayli Corbin
Photography by Kimberlee Miller
On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, The Great War (World War I) entered an armistice. This meant that the Allied Nations and Germany agreed on a temporary cessation of hostilities. Seven months later, the Treaty of Versailles was signed and an official end to the war was obtained.
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”
In 1954, after the end of World War II, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day to include the veterans, victims, and families of another world war. This act helped focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
The stories of the military men and women who have served this country span all walks of life. There are over 16 million living veterans that have served in at least one war. Today we will share the stories of four local veterans. Each veteran will be referenced by initial to allow for solidarity for each and every veteran in our communities, the United States, and the world as a whole.
Edgewood Senior Living is a community offering customized services to exactly fit senior’s needs. They focus on independent living for as long as possible and craft amazing relationships between neighbors and staff to make each of their facilities like home. Edgewood Senior Living was kind enough to facilitate the sharing of some of their community member’s stories. Each person shares a different perspective of what service means. They were in different areas, helping with a variety of integral tasks, but each story shares an underlying theme of respect, sacrifice, and determination to serve our great country.
M.P. served from 1943-1947 during World War II. She joined the Cadet Corps to become a nurse at 17 years of age. She learned military tactics and nursing on Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City, Utah. She attended classes in the morning and then worked in hospitals in the afternoons. Twelve-hour days afforded her only one evening a week to go into town or attend a dance. She shared that serving her country meant “doing everything (she could) to protect the county, even if it meant losing (her) life.” Her and her family observe Veterans Day by putting up flags and going to visit graves of those lost in the line of duty.
V.G. served during the Korean war from 1951-1953 as a cook. He fed the incoming enlisted as they were preparing to go overseas to fight. Serving his country meant “getting the men ready to saves lives in the field by feeding them,” a necessary service to our country. He shared that everyone should “do your best at everything you try.” So many people in a variety of roles were necessary to the success of the United States Military, and each of them made an integral sacrifice for our country’s wellbeing.
G.C. served as a Clerk in the Airforce from 1951-1953. During the Korean war he dealt with everything from ordering supplies to writing letters. His pride in serving his country means everything to him. He shared that he “honorably served (his) country and (his) job.”
D.T. also served in the Korean war as a Gunnery Officer on the Destroyer Ship, USS Orleck. He went to college and then entered Officer Cadet School where he became an Officer. He oversaw the ships, guns, and the wellbeing of those under his command. He shared “it’s important to me to take care of things.” Which is apparent in his selfless service. He wants everyone to remember the people who have fought and died for this country. Each year on Veterans Day, his family puts a flag in their front yard to remember all the people who have served the greater good.
In a time where our country seems more divided than ever, it’s important to reflect on the things that bring us together. It’s safe to say that each of us share a deeply rooted respect for those willing to make the greatest sacrifice. As a community, it is our responsibility to reciprocate the service our Military men and women were so willing to provide.
A little bit of research shows us the true need for veteran care and assistance programs. An article called Veterans Day Facts from history.com shares some staggering details. “The VA (Veterans Assistance) health care system had only 54 hospitals in 1930. Since then, it has expanded to include 171 medical centers; more than 350 outpatient, community, and outreach clinics; 126 nursing home and care units; and 35 live-in care facilities for injured or disabled vets.”
Veterans Day is a time of remembrance—remembrance of service, sacrifice, those who were lost, those who came home broken, and the families of all our military members who have so bravely served our country. 7 million veterans served during the Vietnam War. More than 5.5 million veterans served during the Persian Gulf War. Two million veterans served during the Korean War. And countless more have served during peacetime.
I challenge you to reflect and remember this Veterans Day. Be thankful for the freedom and liberty we have been granted. Be grateful for the country we live in. And most importantly, share your respect and gratitude with a veteran you know.