Veterans Day began as a tribute to the World War I armistice declared on November 11, 1918. Although the Treaty of Versailles was not signed until June 28, 1919, November 11 marked the end of the war in the hearts and minds of many Americans.
The following year, President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11 Armistice Day, later renamed Veterans Day after World War II. November 11 became a day to reflect with pride in the heroes that selflessly served their country, to remember those that gave their lives and to celebrate those that returned victorious.
At the time, World War I was referred to as “the war to end all wars.” Then in 1941, America joined the World War II efforts and over 16 million men and women were mobilized, making World War II the largest number of U.S. service members mobilized in a single conflict. Less than 1 million World War II Veterans are alive today and just over 34,000 live in Ohio.
My Uncle, Bob Beagle, is one of those brave and courageous men that served fearlessly in World War II. On December 16, 1944, the German army launched a surprise blitzkrieg through the Ardennes in hope of separating the Allied armies in what became known as the Battle of the Bulge and resulted in over 100,000 U.S. Army casualties. He was captured during that battle and kept as a prisoner of war for six months. My Uncle Bob was a humble man, like many of our veterans, and I’m thankful to have taken the time to ask him about his heroic story and learn from his example.
Ohio is home to over 860,000 veterans, so it’s likely that you know a veteran—whether they are a family member, friend or someone in the community. I encourage you to take this opportunity to personally express your gratitude and appreciation.
I would like to thank all the men and women who have sacrificed their time, energy and lives in the armed forces and the families that have supported their call to duty. My special thanks to my Uncle Bob and my Uncle Ken, who served in Korea during the Korean War, you have inspired my patriotism, commitment to public service and devotion to upholding our Constitutional rights and liberties through the legislative process.
It is clear that the unstable state of the world today demands America must continue to support those currently serving in the armed forces and those who have served in the past. Most of us will never have to fight to defend our principles or put our lives at risk for the sake of others and we need to be there to take care of the men and women who choose to serve. So on this historic day, let us not only thank but also commit to support those heroes whose love for their country has inspired selfless service and courageous dedication to defending our freedoms and protecting our nation.
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Senator Bill Beagle serves the people of Ohio’s 5th Senate District, which includes Miami and Preble Counties as well as portions of Montgomery and Darke Counties. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.