Every year, as the political signs come down and the Thanksgiving or Christmas decorations start going up, we pause on Nov. 11, formerly Armistice Day, to celebrate our veterans. For those of us who don’t have much history in the military tradition (dad served during World War II and one brother served for a couple of years in Texas), this has been a relatively new tradition to understand. 

Coming from a family of educators (and preachers), there was a strong belief that our country and democracy depended on an educated citizenry who would understand government, be informed about public policy decisions and respect those who represented us in making educated decisions that would serve the common welfare.

There have always been ways in which I was proud of our country’s military history. I’ve always enjoyed reading novels about Europe’s experience during WW II, and the relief, joy and thanksgiving that accompanied the arrival of American troops on D-Day. I’ve long known the leadership role the military, especially the Army, had in promoting integration and giving all men, regardless of race, an opportunity to serve and succeed in the military hierarchy. More recently, I’ve been proud that women are finally being allowed the same privileges and benefits of service to our country. 

I am hugely thankful that, except for the bombing of Pearl Harbor, our country, cities and citizens have never experienced war on a direct basis – especially when I see the news coverage of what happens to those in other countries where war is raging.

We continue to be thankful to all those who serve our country. I am especially hopeful that as more women move into leadership, we will be even more effective in finding new and better ways to resolve conflicts among the nations of the earth and find ways that value the communication and relationship-building skills that women bring to any enterprise.

The military has been in the forefront of so many positive changes in our country – from security through disaster relief.

I suspect the future holds even more opportunities to experience gratitude and pride in the accomplishments of our military leadership.

Linda Johnson is a Leavenworth Times columnist.