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Eleven Eleven


by Bev Berens

Published: Friday, November 8, 2019

Telling Your Story

"Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices." —President Harry S. Truman

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month of 1918, World War I came to an end and the cease-fire became official. We honor the cease fire with two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. We honor all veterans on 11/11 every year, thanking them for their service and sacrifice.

People like me who have never been in the military will never truly understand the experiences, bond, determination and sacrifices of the American soldier. They are members of the club with a shared experience, shared language and shared scars. They answered the call when their country asked by raising their hand to say, "I'll go."

No matter if service was rendered in times of peace or times of war, they answered their country's call. For this, a grateful nation says, "Thank you."

We may not know each name, but we honor all of you just the same.

If it weren't for those very first soldiers who served our land before we became the United States of America, we wouldn't have the freedoms we value—freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble, the right to a fair trial and the freedom to vote. All who served in so many capacities since then preserve those precious rights and freedoms.

The human cost tied to this security cannot be measured because the cost is too high. Lives lost, scars hidden, burdens carried. The value of all this is beyond a price tag or dollar value. It is beyond words of the most celebrated poets, and certainly beyond the words of this lowly farmhouse writer.

Veterans, please know that we see you and we honor you daily, but we set aside today to formally thank you all. If you are a veteran of any branch, thank you. Mere words seem not enough for the service you have given. But they are words sincerely offered by a grateful nation. Words given from those standing at home behind the flag, those you protect from foreign and domestic enemies.

Thank you, veterans. The land of the free is forever in your debt.

Bev Berens is a freelance writer and FFA parent from Holland, Mich. She can be contacted at uphill-farm494@yahoo.com.

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