What do we pass on to our children, how do we teach them that it’s the consistent, constant, quiet endurance that the true heroes, our veterans possessed that is to be honored?
Armistice Day – Never Again
Originally Armistice Day was a commemoration of the lost American military service during World War I, November 11th the day of the cease fire. It wasn’t until 1954, November 11th that it became a day to honor American Veterans of all wars. It was to originally mark the great loss of World War I in hopes that such a conflict would never happen again.
Captain Eddie Rickenbacker
He was originally turned down for enlistment for lack of education but was persistent, and on May 25, 1917, at New York City he joined the Signal Enlisted Reserve Corps, with assignment to the Aviation Section. Three days later he was on his way to Paris, France, for assignment to Aviation Headquarters American Expeditionary Forces. His rank was sergeant first class. He served as General John J. Pershing’s staff driver. At his insistence he was permitted to join a fighter unit, being assigned as a student at the Aviation Training School at Tours, France.
Defying orders, Capt Rickenbacker flew over the battle front the morning the armistice orders were issued.
“I was the only audience for the greatest show ever presented. On both sides of no-man’s-land, the trenches erupted. Brown-uniformed men poured out of the American trenches, gray-green uniforms out of the German.”
“From my observer’s seat overhead, I watched them throw their helmets in the air, discard their guns, wave their hands. Then all up and down the front, the two groups of men began edging toward each other across no-man’s-land.”
“Seconds before they had been willing to shoot each other; now they came forward. Hesitantly at first, then more quickly, each group approached the other.”
“Suddenly gray uniforms mixed with brown. I could see them hugging each other, dancing, jumping. Americans were passing out cigarettes and chocolate.”
“I flew up to the French sector. There it was even more incredible. After four years of slaughter and hatred, they were not only hugging each other but kissing each other on both cheeks as well.”
“Star shells, rockets and flares began to go up, and I turned my ship toward the field.”
“The war was over.”
Major Dick Winters – Easy Company “Band of Brothers”
Winters led an attack that destroyed a battery of German 105mm howitzers, which were firing onto the causeways that served as the principal exits from Utah Beach.: 78–84 The Americans estimated that the guns were defended by about a platoon of 50 German troops, while Winters had 13 men.: 78–84 This action south of the village of Le Grand-Chemin, called the Brécourt Manor Assault, has been taught at the military academy at West Point as an example of a textbook assault on a fixed position by a numerically inferior force.[
Winters writes over and over that his success in leadership was his consistent study of tactics, and his concern for his men. Because he knew their lives were in hands, he felt his single biggest task was to ensure they made it back.
Humility describes Winter’s demeanor. He felt responsible for all. While his tactics have been studied for decades, his autobiography is written plainly and with little bombast. He lived his values, and he wrote of his concern for those who followed him into battle.
Wright Patterson Air Force Base
Best way for a Scout troop to experience history for Veterans Day.