Dillon: ’Thank the veterans who protect our freedom’

Veterans Day messages from military and civilian leadership at China Lake

Dillon: ’Thank the veterans who protect our freedom’For the past 100 years, Americans have set aside Nov. 11 as a day to recognize and honor our nation’s veterans. In 1919, we called it Armistice Day; in 1954, it became Veterans Day. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the purpose of Veterans Day is “to honor the men and women who have served and continue to serve in the U.S. armed forces during war and peacetime.”

As a country, we accomplish this in many ways during the annual Veterans Day weekend. A National Ceremony commences each year at precisely 11 a.m. on Nov. 11 at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. There are observances in communities across the country, some of which are specifically recognized by the Veterans Day National Committee as models of fitting tributes to America’s heroes. There are innumerable acts of recognition and thanks by friends, families, businesses, non-profit organizations, public servants, and government entities that unite us all in support of the contributions that our veterans have made.

These acts of thanks and support are important. It is equally important to honor our veterans by acknowledging and championing the ideals that they themselves committed to uphold. These ideals are reflected in the stated core values of each service. Navy and Marine Corps core values are Honor, Courage, and Commitment. Other services have slightly different lists, but all are clearly based on the same underlying principles.

Personally, I will celebrate Veterans Day in part by reflecting on these principles and looking for new ways to put them into practice. For example, the Navy further defines “Commitment” as a determination to care for the well-being of and to show respect for all people while continuously striving for positive change. In my view, one of the best ways to honor our veterans this weekend is to study and honor such principles. Please join me in this effort while also pausing to thank the veterans who protect our freedom to aspire to these goals.

— Rear Adm. Scott Dillon, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division commander

Story First Published: 2019-11-08