Honoring the best of us
A brief history of Veterans Day
Originally dubbed Armistice Day, this patriotic milestone now known as Veterans Day marked the end of World War I and its ensuing hostilities. In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson commemorated the first Armistice Day with these 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 and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”
Though the day was originally set aside to honor the veterans of World War I, it was made a legal federal holiday in 1938. Today, Veterans Day is an important day set aside to honor all who have served in the United States military—in wartime or peacetime, living or deceased. For generations, Americans have bravely answered the call to serve—taking a sacred oath to defend and preserve liberty and democracy.
Veterans Day is more than just a federal holiday or a day off from work. It’s a time to honor the best of us—those who served and sacrificed on behalf of our country. At Optus, this holiday is extra special because it’s a chance to honor our veterans and say thanks for dedicating their lives to maintaining the freedoms of our country. To support our veterans and show our deep appreciation, we asked them to tell us what this day means to them. Here’s what they had to say.
What it means to serve
Veterans Day is a reminder of all our brothers and sisters (many of us were very young men and women) raising their right hands and saying “I will defend our country, my family, and myself with my life.” Service to our country is about something larger than yourself. It is about your brothers and sisters next to you. It also reminds me of all the sacrifices my family (mainly my wife) has made during my career. Our spouses have to sacrifice themselves and play both mom and dad, handyman, and lone decision-maker while we are gone. This enables us to focus on the mission so we can return to our families.
To me, Veterans day is a day to remember all veterans and the sacrifices they have made—whether that be time with their family and friends, all the way up to, and including sacrificing their lives in the line of duty.
Veterans Day means a lot to me for obvious reasons. It is a special day to recognize the good men and women who volunteer to stand up and fight for the very lifestyle we love and are allowed to have because of them—the people who understand the true meaning of words like honor, courage, duty, sacrifice, and freedom.
People that leave their family behind, not knowing if they will ever return to see them again, to deploy to some foreign land to fight for something that they may or may not understand, but will defend until the death because that is the oath that they took and the code they live by. Good people like my Dad who served in Korea, my Grandpa who fought in WWII, my Uncle David and my Uncle James who both served in Vietnam, and the countless people I have served with—in horrific, unspeakable places and situations that the average person could not even stomach to hear about.
People like Corporal Ron Payne, who I served with in Afghanistan in 2004 and died heroically for his country during a major fight with the Taliban. People like Staff Sergeant Stacy Green, who gave his life fighting in Afghanistan in 2010, leaving behind a daughter and a fiancé. People like Staff Sergeant Javier Ortiz Rivera, who died in Afghanistan in 2010 leaving behind a wife and three small children. Good people I served with like Lance Corporal Raymon Johnson, Lance Corporal Josh Ose, Lance Corporal Jose Hernandez, and Navy Corpsman Edwin Gonzalez, who all made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan in 2010 while fighting for our freedom.
These are the people who come to mind on Memorial Day and Veterans Day for me. They are why I believe that every American should honor and appreciate veterans and the sacrifices they have made to keep our country free. It brings me great peace knowing that there are people like this guarding us at night when we all lay down—letting us know that they have our backs and that nothing will happen to us on their watch.
“To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor that the protected will never know.”― P. McCree Thornton
Veterans Day is difficult for me to describe in words. In essence, it is a day where I reflect on all my brothers and sisters with whom I served. It’s a day I find myself feeling a bit extra proud knowing I was part of something greater than myself while rendering duty to country and remembering all the great things which that service brought to my life.
Honoring our Veterans
Today, we honor our veterans—those who work alongside us and those who we’ve never met. This day, and every day, we hope you’ll do the same. If you’d like to share a message of gratitude with our veterans, we encourage you to leave a message on this post.