November 5, 2010
November has arrived and, as always, our thoughts are turning to Thanksgiving. We at AUSA have much for which to give thanks. Our 56th Annual Meeting—just concluded—was a blockbuster hit and a great professional development event for Army Soldiers. More than 35,800 people attended and saw 442 industry and Army exhibits spread over almost 500,000 square feet of floor space. The Contemporary Military Forums and the Military Family Forums were packed, and our Congressional Staff Breakfast included almost 600 attendees—more than 220 of them Hill staffers—who heard both the Secretary of the Army and the Army Chief of Staff speak.
At the Eisenhower Lunch and the Marshall Dinner, we were honored to have as our guests combat veterans and Medal of Honor recipients SFC Ronald F. Rosser from the Korean War and COL Walter J. Marm from the Vietnam War. Mrs. Maureen Miller represented her son SSG Robert J. Miller, a Medal of Honor recipient from the Afghanistan conflict. Their service and sacrifice highlight those of all our Soldiers and remind us, as Veterans Day draws near, of the enormous thanks we owe to all those men and women who have worn the uniform and sworn to protect and defend our nation.
Some may be unaware that Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day and marked the end of World War I—on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. President Wilson proclaimed the first 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.”
With the addition of millions of veterans after World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day to honor all veterans who served in uniform. Today there are more than 23 million veterans, 6 million of them disabled. Many of you reading this are among this number, so to you and all veterans I render a sincere salute.
A wise Soldier once said, “A nation that forgets to thank and honor its veterans ceases to be a great nation.” We at AUSA will work hard not only to represent our Army and our nation’s veterans but to remind the nation of the enormous debt of gratitude we owe to those who have served.