Advocate editorial board opinion: Military service members are experts on freedom

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Nov. 10, 2011 at 5:10 a.m.

We've all heard the term "veteran" used in different ways. For example, "He's a veteran builder."

The origin of the word comes from the Latin words vetus and veteris, meaning old. Later, the word evolved to mean skilled or experienced.

As we write these thoughts, we observed that Thursday was the 236th birthday of the U.S. Marines. And Friday is Veterans Day, a celebration of all veterans - deceased and alive - who served in the military - past, present and who will serve in the future.

And now, the word veteran mainly refers to our experienced and skilled military service personnel.

Originally called Armistice Day by President Woodrow Wilson in 1918 - Veterans Day was the day World War I ended on the 11th hour, the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. The World War was supposed to be the war that ended all wars, but sadly, that did not turn out to be true.

And oddly, this year mirrors those numbers: the 11th day, 11th month of the 11th year of the 21st century.

We profoundly thank our veterans for their service here in the United States and abroad. We thank many of them for putting themselves in harm's way to keep our country free from tyranny and treachery and to preserve our way of life.

Yes, veterans are experts at what freedom means. They are experienced and deeply know what war means. Truly, all our veterans who have seen action know what Civil War Gen. William T. Sherman was talking about when he said these words: "War is hell."

When we cast our eyes across fields filled with grave markers, like those at Arlington National Cemetery (veterans from the Civil War to Afghanistan and Iraq) and Flanders Field American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium, and when we view all the memorials in Washington, D.C., including Korea, Vietnam, World War II and recently, World War I, we come to glean - at the very least - what Sherman and our veterans shared in war. All these sacrifices so that you and we live freely in this great United States of America.

We humbly and gladly bow our heads, and we sincerely thank our veterans for all they've done and do.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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