Honoring Our National Heroes on Veterans Day

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By: W. Kirk Taylor, CFP®

As the son of a Vietnam veteran, I take time each year on Veterans Day to say, “Thank you for your service!” to the individuals in my life who have been brave enough to selflessly defend our great nation in uniform.

As in years past on Veteran’s Day, this morning I arose before sunrise, shined my shoes, put on a white shirt and a crisp blue suit, donned my most patriotic red, white, and blue necktie, and a lapel pin of the United States flag.

My colleague and I, Col. (Ret.) Mark D. Troutman traveled to Arlington National Cemetery this morning to observe a joint service flyover and full honors procession honoring the centennial anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The Old Guard marched past us in World War I Doughboy, World War II, and Korean War formations, dressed in era-specific uniforms creating a historical tie to the wars represented by the Unknowns. Military attaches from the original nine countries participating in the 1921 ceremony also attend.

As explained by Karen Durham-Aguilera, the Executive Director of the Office of Army Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery, on November 11, 1921, the World War I Unknown Soldier was taken to his grave in Arlington National Cemetery by a procession [1]. This event one hundred years later was a beautiful recreation of the historical procession.

While Veterans Day is about honoring those who have served in uniform, and Memorial Day is about honoring those who have lost their lives while serving in uniform, it’s hard to be on the grounds of Arlington Cemetery on any given day, let alone on Veterans Day, and not think about those who have lost their lives defending our freedom. On the day of the Centennial celebration, Arlington Cemetery was lined with the friends and family members of loved ones who have served their country, whether living or not.

Standing side-by-side with hundreds, if not thousands of other appreciative souls, it was hard not to be overwhelmed with emotion. At the same time, it was hard not to be overwhelmed with inspiration and an appreciation of what a great nation we are so fortunate to call home.

To all service members past and present and to families that have supported them, we will once again say “Thank you for your service!” 

W. Kirk Taylor, CFP® and Mark D. Troutman, PhD, CFP® at Arlington National Cemetery

Full Honors Procession at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The Arlington National Cemetery

Flyover above Arlington National Cemetery

[1] Public Invited to Watch Joint Full Honors Procession and Aerial Review during Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Commemoration, Arlington National Cemetery October 27, 2021, https://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/Media/News/Post/11500/Public-Invited-to-Watch-Joint-Full-Honors-Procession-and-Aerial-Review-during-Tomb-of-the-Unknown-Soldier-Centennial-Commemoration

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