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Honoring those who have defended freedom for so many
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This morning, Effingham County’s official observance of Veterans Day will be held at one of the community’s great hidden treasures, Veterans Park.

The backdrop to the annual Veterans Day commemoration is stirring, and the music that the Effingham Community Orchestra constantly provides a fitting accompaniment to the events there, particularly today.

Veterans Day grew out of Armistice Day, declared on Nov. 11, 1919, to mark the first year after the “war to end all wars,” which ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

Since then, American soldiers, who helped bring about the end of a long, bloody stalemate in Europe then, have fought across the globe and have served steadfastly guarding the tenuous, fragile peace we’ve had between conflicts. They have fought in the mountains, the icy north Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the steamy jungles, the searing hot deserts, the cities and plains in pursuit of freedom for all.

They’ve served in such godforsaken places as Diego Garcia and stared across at the Warsaw Pact’s war machine at the other end of the Fulda Gap in Germany, waiting for World War III to start.

Many of our neighbors, family and friends have served either in peace or conflict, and many have faced combat and arduous conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan as members of Alpha Battery of the Georgia Army National Guard’s 118th Field Artillery Battalion. Others in our community serve in places they can’t talk about, leaving when no one knows and returning when no one’s sure they’ll be back.

More than 2 million Americans have served in our nation’s endeavors in Iraq and Afghanistan. Armistice Day became Veterans Day in 1954 and in 1975, the federal observance of Veterans Day was established as November 11.

Join those at Veterans Park this morning honoring all those who have put on the uniform and performed their duty to ensure the peace and freedom we as a nation have enjoyed like no other.