In many parts of the world, November 11 is celebrated to commemorate the end of World War I. In the United States, November 11 is called Veterans Day, in honor of the people who fought valiantly so many decades ago. In parts of Europe, it is called Armistice Day. Whatever you may call it, the day holds much significance. Perhaps this generation does not fully comprehend the meaning of the day but those who pay attention to history would recognize that we owe those veterans the freedom that we enjoy today.
I believe that we should not forget what they did and, taking things one step further, actually engage in activities that will keep their memory alive. One thing that you can do is to visit the American cemeteries that are found in various parts of the world, particularly in Europe and Asia. Though many soldiers were able to go back home, there were just as many who lost their lives and were never able to go back. I found an article by Susan Spano to be particularly moving. In it, she writes how she discovered the American cemeteries in Europe. Here is an excerpt:
Many of the graveyards, including 20 in Western Europe, lie on or near the battlefields where U.S. military personnel fought and fell.
Meticulously maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission, a small federal agency mandated by Congress in 1923, the cemeteries are profoundly beautiful and meaningful places.
Mostly, they’re visited by relatives and veterans, but occasionally an American tourist happens by a gate where the Stars and Stripes fly, turns in and sees the massed graves of American heroes who sleep on foreign soil.
If you plan on visiting these places in the near future, do make it a point to drop by and pay your respects.