Today we reflect upon and honor the service that all veterans, as well as active duty service men, have devoted to their love of freedom, democracy, and justice for all men. Since our Independence, the heroes of this country have always been, and will continue to be, those who find it their obligation to protect our nation’s borders, to serve its inhabitants, and to administer its benevolence throughout the world. Those who choose to make a responsibility that which most find undesirable deserve more than we can give, but every November 11th we honor everyone who has made a sacrifice on our behalf.
History of Veterans Day
The history of Veterans Day dates back to the Armistice that ended World War I, but what it represents goes back much further. There is no typical veteran much like there is no typical American. Even Veterans from the last 70 years, less than a third of our country’s existence, have served in every corner of the Earth, have origins from nearly every country on Earth, and are a mixture of every race on Earth. Representing America’s claim to the world’s most diverse population, our military is also more diverse than any fighting force in history. During every war since our Independence, blacks have fought alongside whites, Hispanics have fought alongside Asians, and immigrants have fought alongside citizens. Whether you call it sheer will or Divine Providence, the fact that we have welcomed such diversity and still remain a union is nothing short of miraculous.
Puerto Rican Contributions
Being The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce, we would be remiss to not mention the dedication of Puerto Rican Veterans. In the Revolutionary War, Puerto Ricans fought with the Spanish for American independence and defended its valuable ports against British attacks. During the Civil War, Puerto Ricans, who had settled in New England, fought for the North. In San Juan Bay, Puerto Ricans fired the first American shots of World War I, stopping a German supply ship in its tracks. Nearly 65,000 Puerto Rican troops served during World War II. The “Borinqueneers” were commended for their valor during the Korean War, and tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans served in Vietnam, the Gulf War, and continue to serve in Afghanistan, Iraq, and wherever duty calls.
Almost all Americans are the progeny of immigrants, but ask any servicemen in a war zone and they will gladly swear their allegiance to the Stars and Stripes, much like they did when they first took that infamous oath: I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States . . . Although they are a reflection of the face of the world, the American Veteran will always carry the Spirit of American Independence.
If there was ever a story that more evidently demonstrated the power of the desire for freedom, it is the story the American Veteran. Let us take this day to remind ourselves that our representatives on the front lines, our freedom fighters, our Veterans, have an essential mission. Let them know that the spirit they so adamantly exude is not left on the battlefield, but infects us all; we are all willing to sacrifice for the sake of the freedom that we are all so grateful for.
To our military and our veterans: On behalf of our organization and Americans everywhere, we thank you.