On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, Germany and the Allies signed a pact ceasing hostilities along the Western Front, setting the stage for an end to World War I. Since the 1950s, we’ve recognized the service of veterans of that and other wars by celebrating Veterans Day.
Whether they’re safe at home, currently serving or long-since buried, troops deserve better from us, and certainly deserve more than one day of recognition.
We know this because of the stories you told us about “your” veterans .
They’re stories about husbands who served to make a better home for their families. Stories about immigrants who served because it made them feel more American. Stories about women who pieced together guns in naval factories while they waited for their loved ones to come home. Stories about you, about the medals you earned and the friends you made.
You wrote that so many veterans came home and didn’t say much about the experience, summing it up as nothing more than the right thing to do. Here are just a few of the stories you told for them:
• Maurice Bernard. “My grandfather isn’t American. Neither am I, even though I live here. But as far as veterans and dedication to your country goes, I think he has his place here. He had just joined the French military when World War II broke out, and was fighting in Germany. He spent two years in Nazi jails, and came back from the war deaf but with medals to show his merit. Let this war and its horrors never be forgotten, and its veterans honored.” — Emily Bernard
• Wes Lippman. “My brother-in-law joined the Marines in 2004 and was deployed to Al-Asad, Iraq. On Sept. 30, 2006, while on a mission, Wes’ humvee was hit by an IED. The blast threw the vehicle into the air and flipped it over backwards. Wes suffered a broken back, fractured arm, shattered feet & other injuries. Today, his scars are still visible, but he has recovered. Though I did not know Wes on that tragic day, I have to imagine he is as strong, proud & heroic today as ever before.” — Sarah Lippman
• Lt Samuel Gilmor. “On 10/10/1943 Lt Samuel Gilmor the Pilot of 4230446 of the 99BG 348BS ordered his crew to Bail Out and stayed with his aircraft and the 4 remaining crew members of his B-17 who were too seriously wounded to bailout. He attempted a crash landing in an olive grove near Panareti, Greece with only one engine running, a fire on the other wing, and continual fighter attack, although wounded himself. He knew no greater love and made the ultimate sacrifice. We honor him and all who served.” — Gary T. Staffo
• Olene Brumbles Jones. “Many women served in WW2, my mother was in the WAVES. She worked in a naval Gun factory. When the war ended, many left service, rarely to mention their time in uniform. My mother is buried next to my father in the Raleigh, NC National Cemetery. Great parents, great Americans who did their duty.” — Phillip Jones
Share your stories: wapo.st/veteranstributes
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