Remembering our veterans as our nation changes its course

Today marks the 57th observance of Veterans Day, a holiday meant to honor all American veterans  — both the living and dead.  Formerly known as Armistice Day, it was first celebrated in the U.S. in 1921 with the burial of the Unknown Soldier, whose name was “known but to God.”

The holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who called upon Americans to rededicate themselves to the cause of peace.

Today, many decades and wars later, we stop to remember all those who have given of themselves in order to ensure our safety.  At 11 a.m., a color guard will bestow honors to all those who have died at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. Throughout the day, millions of Americans will both give their thanks and mourn the loss of those taken from them.

As we observe this holiday today, let us particularly reflect on all that has transpired over the past 10 years. On Oct. 21, President Obama announced the complete withdrawal of our troops from Iraq by the year’s end, declaring, “The tide of war is receding.”

More than 2 million Americans have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, and more than 6,000 have died. The reality that we are here now, safe and sound, speaks to the work they have done in promoting peace and justice.

We are supremely privileged to live in a country that works to protect and promote the best interests of its citizens, and we are incredibly fortunate to have such selfless and capable citizens who protect us every day.

As you go through your day today, take a moment to be still and pray for all those who have fought for your freedom, not only over the past decade, but also all throughout our nation’s history.