At the 11th hour on the 11th day on the 11th month of 1918 the guns in Europe fell silent and “The War to end all Wars” came to an end. From that time onward it became known as “Armistice Day.”

In 1954 President Eisenhower signed into law a bill that changed the name to “Veterans Day” to honor and celebrate all of our veterans.

The first recollection I have of this day is from the early 1950s, back when it was still called “Armistice Day.”

I was at my grandpa’s house; we were getting things ready to decorate his porch and to take things to the cemetery. I asked him what all of it was about and he said it was a day to mark the end of WWI and to remember those who died.

I knew there had been a war that had just been won but it was called World War II and another going on in a place called Korea, so when I asked him about it he told me about the first war.

I found out later he was in WWI but he never wanted to talk about it and said we shouldn’t forget those that fought over there or in any war. 

I look back to that time and I can still see his face and the pain that was in it. I wanted to know more but I didn’t ask, but I do remember asking why we had wars.

He told me that wars have been a part of man’s history since the beginning of time because one group of people was always trying to take away things from others.

To stop this from happening countries kept armies to protect their people from the bad guys. I do remember his voice cracking and the sadness in his face as he told me that “No sane man wants to go into battle but there comes a time when that is the only answer to protect ourselves and the ones we love.”

When our country needs help there is a special group of people that will step forward. The government has an obligation to these veterans regarding health care and pay. Instead they tried to take back sign up bonuses after these brave people have fulfilled their reenlistment contracts. The government runs the Veterans Administration as if it’s a side show with unreasonable wait times for these veterans. Time after time over the past few years they were to fix this issue, so what do they do? 

They spend $20 million for art to decorate the VA buildings, the administrators have been awarded $142 million in bonuses yet nothing has changed. 

Who are these veterans? Look around you; they are your friends, neighbors and relatives. I’ve had many relatives and friends that were and some that still are in the service. Each day I ask God to look over them and see them safely home.

My hat is off to any that has served and to those that are still serving. We that have not been through what they have can never fully understand their sacrifices. 

To those veterans, I would like to give my utmost grateful and heartfelt highest respect.

God bless and thank you.

Charles Richard Bragg,

Stephenville