At exactly 11:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918, an Armistice was signed to end the hostilities of World War I. (It was the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.”) The Armistice was supposed to end what was known as the War to End All Wars. Well, it wasn’t our last.
What we commemorate now, nearly 100 years later, is Veterans Day. Wars have never stopped; they’ve changed. What remains the same is this: courageous men and women of our armed forces continue to fight and stand for a free world. We, in the United States of America, thank you.
In a time longer ago than I’ll admit here, my father volunteered to serve in World War I. He was not able to serve, but many of my family have. One brother-in-law, who also shared dual citizenship with England, left a comfortable new career to join up in England early during World War II. When President Roosevelt finally committed the United States to war, this family member returned to serve in the US Army Air Corps. Later he received military honors from His Majesty and the United States, one of which was the Purple Heart.
Some of my closest friends volunteered to serve, directly after graduating from high school. Others participated in ROTC and continued in the Reserves of their branch of service, after a period of active duty—in Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Bosnia—always ready to serve their country again. On a personal note, in our home my husband is retired US Army, while I still nurture some longtime allegiances to the Navy after spending six years with the US Naval Academy at Annapolis.
My latest novel, A Voyage for History, is a tribute to some of these men, especially Navy vets. A sentimental journey turns into terrifying voyage when a group of older veterans bond together by one special cause—the rescue of a US Navy tank landing ship critical to the battles of World War II. These men and their ship are coming home, but not without adventure and misadventure, drama and tragedy, and even a touch of romance as they encounter their ultimate fight for survival.
If you know a veteran or a member of the armed forces on active duty, remember to thank them today—an email or phone call would be wonderful. If your old friend who served is no longer with you, thank him or her with a small prayer. If you are thankful for your freedom and your country, thank a vet. If you have served our country, this tribute is my personal thanks to you.
From the Writers’ Table