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More Than Ever We Should Support Our Veterans

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

Posted on November 05, 2005:

Senator Dyson Now, no matter how you feel about the current wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, all of us should be united in one way. As fellow Americans, all of us must show our support for our troops who are currently putting their lives on the lines in these wars and for those who have already served there and returned.

Veterans Day is held on November 11 every year. Unlike President’s Day or some other holidays, it is not gerrymandered to make it a three-day weekend. Veterans Day was designated by the Congress of the United States in 1938 to honor what was then known as Armistice Day which commemorated the end of World War I -- the war to end all wars -- on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day in 1954 when President Eisenhower signed the bill into law.

I do not like when people refer to Veterans Day as a “holiday.” It is not. It is a day to honor all of our current and former veterans who selflessly preserved our freedoms in these current wars as well as past wars and international conflicts. This year, Veterans Day just happens to fall on a Friday. I’m sure some people are reveling in the fact that they are getting a “three-day weekend.” This would be disappointing.

It is my hope that all Americans will take time out of their day to remember the supreme sacrifice made by our current and past members of the military.

A few weeks ago, I attended the funeral of my dear friend Durwood Wiley, a World War II veteran who remained active fighting for veterans’ benefits and issues until the day he died. Durwood was the type of unassuming, but forceful advocate for his fellow veterans that I really admire. He was a great veteran and a great American.

Something I am particularly proud to do each Veterans Day is to show my support for our brave men and women in the military by presenting Senate Citations at the annual Veterans Day Parade and Memorial Wreath Laying Ceremony in downtown Leonardtown. These citations recognize the sacrifice and valor of selected military personnel every year. This year, I will be proud to hand out citations of recognition to several people who have worked so hard over the years to make the Leonardtown parade a success. I will also present citations to wounded veterans who have come back from the war in Iraq who will be visiting us from Walter Reed Medical Hospital.

This is the least I can do to honor their supreme service to our country.

You can do your part to honor our brave men and women members of the military on this solemn day in many ways. There are numerous public Veterans Day events being held throughout Southern Maryland, including but not limited to the Leonardtown parade and wreath laying. Local ceremonies are also being held at the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home and at the Cheltenham State Veterans Cemetery. Former Vietnam Veteran and Secretary of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs George W. Owings III is expected to join Governor Ehrlich in Charlotte Hall while his friend and fellow Vietnam Veteran, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police Thomas E. “Tim” Hutchins, is scheduled to be on hand with Lt. Governor Michael Steele at the Leonardtown ceremony.

Your attendance at any of these events will show the veterans on hand that you greatly appreciate the sacrifice they have made on your behalf.

For those interested in knowing more about veterans issues, the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs has an excellent website: www.mdva.state.md.us. President Bush’s Veterans Day proclamation can be accessed at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/11/20051102-6.html#.

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

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