I was raised by two children of the 1960s peace movement in America. My parents protested the Vietnam War war and were tear-gassed and arrested in protests in Washington, DC. I’ve always described my mother’s belief system as more similar to Quaker than Greek Orthodox. It is no surprise then that the children they raised wouldn’t grow up an join the armed forces. We were never told not to do it and we all know they’d have supported our decision to join up if we chose to. The reason is despite their peace-loving nature they were the children of Veterans. They appreciate the sacrifice that our service members have made and continue to make on behalf of the rest of us. We want to thank our vets today for all that they have done.
We haven’t forgotten that this is a travel blog, so here we go…
Veterans Day was conceived as a way to honor all those who served in the Great War or World War I. The war was mainly fought in Europe, Anatolia and Arabia. You can visit and tour many of these battlefields today, especially in Europe. The National World War I Museum and Memorial hosts a top-rated tour of the European theater. The tour takes you to the battlefields of Saint-Mihiel and the battlefield of Verdun, where future U.S. President Harry S. Truman served as well as famed tank commander George Patton. You will also get to walk in the footsteps of Sgt. Alvin York whose exploits have grown like a myth since a movie following his service starring Gary Cooper was released in 1941. The trip also visits cemeteries like Romangne-sous-Montfaucon.
If you have the chance to visit a military cemetery from a war your ancestors fought in, take a moment as you stand surrounded by those who never came home to think about how close you came to never existing. I had a great-grandfather fight in the first world war and two who fought in the second. A bullet, an infection, a cloud of poison gas and my life never would have happened.