Monday marks the 100th anniversary of when President Woodrow Wilson first declared a commemoration of the end of World War I, which had occurred a year before. It was hoped it would be the war to end all wars, but that unfortunately was not the case.
But what has never wavered has been the constant defense of our nation by the most dedicated of people, and Veterans Day is a time to laud men and women for that service.
Indeed, this community in particular has much to be thankful for.
Charles County would be nothing like it is today if not for the important work accomplished every day at Naval Support Facility Indian Head, as well as by all of the defense contractors who support it.
Southern Maryland is in large part a military community — and not just because of the Navy. Our area is home to many men and women who have also served in the Marines, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard.
So the celebration of Veterans Day is no perfunctory exercise here. It’s much more than pomp and pageantry. It’s appreciation for the military straw that continues to stir the economic drink here, and respect for all that it took — and takes — to maintain those high standards as the acknowledged hub of naval research and development.
Since 2001, the observance of Veterans Day has come into even sharper focus. It is no longer just a tribute to those who served in peacetime or in wars past.
The terrorist attacks of 9/11 (in which nine Southern Marylanders were killed), and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that followed, have made clear once again the risks and costs of answering the call to service. People in our region genuinely and deeply understand and appreciate this.
In honor of all this, in today’s edition you’ll find a special section dedicated to Southern Maryland’s veterans. Along listings of special events, you will find compelling stories about:
• Local veterans reacting to proposed changes in the regulations about who can be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
• Veterans furthering their education through local colleges.
• Assistance for African American veterans in Southern Maryland.
• Officials warning about false charities targeting veterans, in light of a recent fraud case in the area.
• How the Maryland Veterans Museum allows those who served once to serve again.
• Fishing trips that help provide a respite for veterans.
• Southern Maryland veterans of the U.S. Air Force who have found their way to success during and after their tours of duty.
• A former Marine’s star-spangled salute to all local veterans.
And while we hope you will read and enjoy our special section in today’s edition, we also invite you to get out and salute our veterans at special events.
The Maryland Veterans Museum at Patriot Park will hold “Salute to Veterans 2019” from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 11000 Crain Highway in Newburg. There will be veteran resource exhibitors, veteran-owned businesses, live music, food, drinks and more. Tickets are $35 online or $40 at the event. For more information or tickets, go to the website educateveterans.org.
VFW Post 8810 will host a Veteran’s Day ceremony at 11 a.m. at the Memorial Quarterdeck Flag Grounds at 2310 Old Washington Road in Waldorf. There will be an open house, and food will be available at 1 p.m.
So attend a local Veterans Day event if you can, but at the very least take a few moments Monday to honor local veterans and reflect on their many sacrifices to allow us to live our lives as Americans.
If you see a veteran in the grocery store or elsewhere in your daily travels, thank them for their service. It may mean more to them than you could ever realize. And if you feel moved to do so, put a flag out so others know how you feel about your nation and those who served.