Presidio Commander's Veterans Day messaeg
Col. Joel J. Clark

PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Nov. 11 marks the 93rd anniversary of the armistice that represented the end of the "war to end all wars."

On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month of 1918 Allied nations and Germany signed an armistice which essentially put an end to a conflict that cost the lives of over 10 million military personnel on both sides in the "Great War."

While the 11th of November has been known by different names, the notion has been consistent. It is a day set aside to honor veterans of all services for their collective sacrifice to this great nation.

Wherever and whenever needed, this country has always produced citizens willing and able to defend and protect this nation.

Each veteran's experiences are unique depending on the era, but one common trait can be said about each: Their time in uniform marks an influential period that, in many cases, gave them the opportunity to do more and be more than they ever thought possible. These are the experiences that light up the faces of most veterans.

Whether you are wearing a uniform today or did so in the past, thank you for all you have done for this country.

This week I ask each of you to also thank a veteran. Just take a minute to pick up the phone or extend a hand and thank a beloved uncle, neighbor, father or mother, or even a service member currently serving. Thank them for stepping up to the plate when they did and for being willing to be part of something bigger than themselves. While it might seem to you like a small "thank you," it means a lot to a veteran.

In addition to recognizing veterans and their sacrifices to this nation, the three-day weekend also marks a chance for each of us to take a break from the classroom, office and daily grind of our everyday lives and slow down a bit.

Do those things that recharge your batteries. Take time to get out and do something with your loved ones; take the opportunity to enjoy some of the things this nation and our local community have to offer.

Give your loved ones the time that is so often filled with the daily chores of living. Spend some time talking to loved ones far away and enjoy your time off with family and friends who are nearby.

Whatever you do, remember to enjoy your time off with safety in mind. The business of protecting this great nation is not a spectator sport and each of us comes across daily hazards that, if not paid strict attention to, can be very dangerous.

Think before you act. Eliminate or mitigate those things in your life that add risk to daily life. Safeguard the most precious resource this nation has at its disposal: You. Your service and your life are far too precious to be wasted as a casualty of a traffic accident or a senseless catastrophic event.

Also, let us not forget that service members rarely serve alone these days. Whether it's Mom and Dad back home or the spouse and kids here, families are playing more pivotal roles in a service member's career than ever in our history. So, thank you, families, for all the sacrifices you make and support you give this nation.

Finally, there is a reason why it is called "service," and I am grateful to each and every one of you for the difference you make to this nation every day. I'll leave you with these thoughts: If not you, then, who? If not now, then, when?

Page last updated Tue November 8th, 2011 at 18:33