Leadership. Responsibility. Commitment. These words are not only familiar to Jaycees who spend countless hours each year dedicating time and energy on projects to help their communities, but in a larger sense, to the many Americans who have served our nation as a part of the Armed Forces. From the birth of our country through present day conflicts, whenever the United States has required the service of its citizens to help defend our democracy and the rights of other nations, hundreds of thousands of Americans have answered that call. It is our duty to honor their sacrifices and remember the individual price they have paid to guarantee our freedoms.

November 11th is Veterans Day in the United States, celebrating the service of all past and present members of the Armed Forces. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day holiday in 1919, recognizing those who served on World War I, and remarked, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

In 1954, Congress voted into law the renaming of Armistice Day to Veterans Day, and its expansion to include the recognition of any American who served in our combined military forces. In many cases, Veterans Day is a time for personal or family remembrance, although a recent Society for Human Resource Management poll found that over 20% of employers celebrate the federal holiday in some way.

As Jaycees, we are dedicated to the improvement of our communities and ourselves. The examples provided by those who have served our nation – in times of war and peace, provide a model for the selfless acts and sacrifices that make our country, and our organization a special group to belong to. As we honor our veterans on November 11th, use their dedication as a motivation for your next positive action and selfless contributions that are the core of Jaycee principles.

How does your community honor its veterans? Share your stories on our Facebook and Twitter pages as inspiration to us all.