This year our observance in honor of America’s fighting men and women closely coincides with the Centennial of the Bolshevik Revolution, which ushered Communism into power in Russia and from there on to the world stage. America’s armed opposition to Communism is also the story of our veterans of the second half of the Twentieth Century, from Korea to Vietnam, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the overarching drama of the Cold War in Europe, and lesser conflicts across Africa and South and Central America. America’s Twentieth Century military conflicts in the Middle East largely grew out of its opposition to the expansion of Soviet influence in that region. Our shadow war with the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s, which lead ultimately to their downfall globally, was also the pivot point to most of our armed conflicts of the present century.
Why might Americans reflect on Communism and its almost complete demise, on Veterans Day? If you are thankful that Communism is a discredited and failed system in most of that part of the world it once enslaved, thank a Veteran. If you are thankful that we have trading partners who were once nuclear threats to our existence, thank a Veteran. If you are thankful that much of the globe is now free of the destabilizing violence exported by the Soviet Union, thank a Veteran.
And, if you are discouraged that nations still labor under Communism, and still export violence and economic misery, think of the millions of American Veterans who went before us, and think in optimism of those will come after us, and resolve to keep the torch of freedom lit for the world to see.