One hundred years ago today, the United States, and much of the world, celebrated. On Nov. 11, 1918, at 11 a.m. — the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month — an armistice was signed in France by the allies and Germany, ending the war to end all wars. Armistice Day was celebrated the following year and to some degree for more than three decades. After World War II ended, a desire to honor all veterans, living and dead, eventually resulted in Nov. 11 being called Veterans Day, officially becoming a national holiday in 1954.
A century after the first World War ended, we’re still celebrating our veterans. It shouldn’t happen just once a year, of course, but on this special day, please take a moment to honor those who have served. Maybe that means placing a wreath or flag on a grave. Maybe it means offering discounts or a ride or a hand. Maybe it just means seeking out a veteran and saying a simple and sincere, “Thank you for your service."
We should do anything we can, as a community and as a nation, to show our gratitude to the men and women who have gone in harm's way to defend our freedom. Celebrating Veterans Day a few days after Election Day feels all the more appropriate.
As has been written in this space before, it takes a special and brave individual to enlist and serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. And when it comes to taking care of those who have served, at least in Maryland, we believe Carroll is second to none.
The Veterans Services Program of Carroll County works tirelessly, not just for veterans of all ages, but for children, widows and parents of deceased and disabled veterans. It helps them secure benefits they've earned from the Department of Veterans Affairs, preparing and submitting compensation and pension claims; assisting with denied claims and filing appeals; and connecting veterans to the Veterans Health Administration; and other services and providers.
The Carroll County Veterans Advisory Council has a stated mission to evaluate, develop and promote new and existing programs and services for veterans and their families within Carroll County.
Business Advocates for Veterans, which held a banquet last week to honor veterans and police officers, helps address issues that make it difficult for veterans to find employment once they’ve left the military.
Carroll County Veterans Independence Project Vice President Ed Cramer recently shared progress on the project he hopes will help homeless veterans in the county. CCVIP’s mission is to help the approximate 13,000 veterans in Carroll County, of whom an average of 8.75 percent are homeless at any given time, by offering veterans services at the vacant U.S. Army Reserve building on Malcolm Drive in Westminster.
Carroll County Public Schools had programs at a number of schools last week in which veterans came in and shared their stories with students so that the next generation understands the sacrifices made.
The Board of County Commissioners has for years made helping veterans a priority and that certainly won’t change when Commissioner-Elect Ed Rothstein joins the board next month. Rothstein, a retired colonel and the former Garrison Commander at Fort Meade, told us after winning on Election Day he is looking forward to working on veterans’ issues in Carroll County.
“As a 31-year veteran serving our country, it’s always an honor to be a part of a community that honors our military and veterans,” he said.
Carroll County does. Today more than usual.