By Brig. Gen. Paul E. Owen
This year, we celebrate Veterans Day on the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the battlefields of Europe fell silent after more than four years of fighting. World War I was not “the war to end all wars,” as some had hopefully named it; instead, it was one of the deadliest wars in history.
President Woodrow Wilson commemorated the first Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919, one year after the end of World War I. The holiday was officially designated by Congress in May 1938 as a day to for United States citizens, businesses, churches, schools and government buildings to display the American flag and observe parades in honor of veterans. In 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of military in the nation’s history, Congress amended the 1938 Act by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.”
Today, less than one percent of Americans choose to serve in the all-volunteer military, and 79 percent of Soldiers come from families that have served. Nonetheless, veterans play a vital role in helping to connect the American public with the Army and inspire the next generation to serve. Veterans are our brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters. We are all touched by the lives of a veteran.
The Southwestern Division has a robust schedule for Veterans Day 2018, with senior leaders engaged throughout the region. This year, the City of Dallas held a special event for our veterans, proclaiming, in part, “the City of Dallas honors these dedicated men and women for their spirit, determination and dedication to the principles of freedom and democracy; and we express our gratitude to those who have given so much and continue to do so.” Thank you to the City of Dallas for the Veterans Day Proclamation.
Across SWD, all of our Pacesetters have made meaningful and much appreciated contributions to our mission, and many of you, both military and civilian, have deployed overseas to serve in harm’s way in support of USACE and our nation. We honor the service of all. But on Veterans Day, we highlight the great service and sacrifice of our veterans.
Thank you to our SWD veterans for all you have done and continue to do. I ask our non-veterans to reach out and thank your veteran colleagues on this Veterans Day.