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“I may not be where I want to be, but I'm thankful for not being where I used to be.”
– Habeeb Akanea  
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  Volume No. 17 Issue No. 11 November 2020  

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  Home of the free because of the brave
  By Ava Stoller

   Veterans Day is the day to honor and remember everyone who has served in the military and their willingness to sacrifice for the common good.
   
   According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. For that reason, Nov. 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.” In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed Nov.11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.
   
   After World War II, the U.S. experienced the greatest influx of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the nation’s history. From va.gov, Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I; but, in 1954, after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
   
   In Norse traditions, there is a holiday for the fallen warriors on Nov. 11. From the Viking Chamber of Commerce website, the Feast of the Einherjar (ane-HAIR-yar) is a celebration in which the fallen heroes in Valhalla and in the halls of the other Gods and Goddesses are remembered.
   
   The Falcon chapter of the American Legion would usually march in the Colorado Springs Veterans Day Parade; however, because of COVID-19, the parade was canceled. They are still teaming up with the local Boy Scout troops to place flags at veterans’ gravestones in the Eastonville Cemetery.
   
   From the perspectives of three Falcon veterans, the military was an opportunity to receive education, economic security and a career. John Oltrogge, an Air Force veteran and a former E-9 Chief Master Sergeant, said, “My military service was an avenue to get an education, to learn a trade, to be able to better myself financially. And now as I look back … I’m still very thankful for that because it gave me a financial anchor that I probably wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t gone into the military at that time.”
   
   “I joined the Navy nuclear power program, which required a six year commitment and that became my career,” said Bill Alton, previously a Navy Machinist Mate 2nd Class. “Their training set me up for a career that I pursued."
   
   Joining the military is a two-sided coin. For some veterans, it follows both family tradition and fulfills a sense of duty to their country. For others, military service was a requirement as a result of the draft during wartime. “I knew I was going to be drafted, and I decided if I was going to be in the service I would much rather choose the branch I was going into,” Alton said. “A week after I joined the Navy, I got a draft notice.”
   
   Dave Emmons, an E-5 Sergeant Marine Corps veteran shared what Veterans Day means to him. “We have so many people serving our country, and it means that we fly the flag, we let them know that we are there for them,” he said. “Whether we like what they are doing or not, even if you are against what's going on in Afghanistan or any place, that doesn’t matter. We have to support our troops and the people who have served. It’s a day that I hope everyone gets out there and says, “Thank you for your service. … I hope everyone really thinks about what these people are giving up, being separated from their families, and things that people don’t even think about. That’s what it means to me.”
  
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