Today, think of them as “Global Veterans”.

Today November 11, all American veterans, living and dead, will be honored.  Thanks will be especially offered to all living veterans, who have served the United State honorably in war or in peace and who are still with us. There’ll be gatherings in veterans’ posts, governmental remembrances, and religious observances dedicated to living veterans and to those who have passed on since their time in America’s military services – in particular, to those who saw combat and lived to return to the United States.

But here are two questions:  Did you ever think about how much our military veterans have done for so many other nations, for more than a hundred years?  Could they be called “Global Veterans”? 

American veterans on active duty have served bravely in major global wars for more than a century, beginning with World War I on April 6, 1917.  Their participation in the First World War led directly to the Armistice 19 months later, which formally went into effect at 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918.  And as you know, November 11 became a national holiday in 1938 and was renamed America’s Veterans Day under President Dwight D. Eisenhower on Tuesday, June 1, 1954 – 70 years ago, as of next June 1.

It’s no exaggeration to say that America’s veterans, because of their bravery and attention to duty both in peacetime and in war, have significantly benefited the entire world.  American veterans have literally changed history.  In World War II, their bravery won the War.  Certainly, other Allied forces were also made up of very brave men and women.  But American soldiers were assigned everywhere.  Basically, they served in huge numbers in both major theaters of the Second World War – across the Atlantic in Europe and at the far end of the Pacific Ocean.  They served as well as in countless other places around the globe, including at many military stations right here in the U.S.  Their non-stop bravery made a global difference everywhere.

Then these veterans returned to go to college, raise families, and become contributing American citizens once again – loyal to the core, both in the military and as civilian veterans.

Korea, Vietnam, and The Middle East followed – all requiring military service that would ultimately result in service men and women returning home as veterans.  When they returned, they either continued in the service or they became upstanding civilians.  When you think about it, what would America and the whole world have become without them?

And give a few moments of thought (and maybe a prayer) to those veterans who are still suffering from wounds, both physically painful and mentally tortuous.  We owe them.  A lot!

South Boston’s veterans remain extremely active.  They have fundraisers, sponsor athletics, take key parts in community endeavors (like the Evacuation/St. Patrick’s Day Parade), and perform countless good works behind the scenes.  And even though this seems to be a simple statement, they are (very) nice men and women.  You rarely meet a South Boston veteran who isn’t smiling and willing to pass the time of day with you.  They are thankful to be among the living, and they really enjoy contributing to our community. 

We’ve already asked, “What would America be without its veterans?”.  It’s perfectly all right to ask, “What would South Boston be without its veterans?”  We’ll let you answer that yourself.

But please remember the major, positive influences our American veterans had on the whole world, when they were on active duty overseas and in combat.  American veterans are truly “Global Veterans”.