This week is the calendar-noted time to remember all who have served in the U.S. military and all those who currently serve. According to a July 2020 report by the Council on Foreign Relations (www.cfr.org/backgrounder/demographics), less than one-half of 1 percent of the U.S. population is an active-duty military service member. The nation is now at about 331 million people.

This year, on Nov. 10, the nation marked the 245th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps.

And on Nov. 11, Veterans Day was observed as it has been on that day at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day of the eleventh month for decades. It was on Nov. 11, 1918, that an armistice was declared between the U.S., England and other European nations fighting Germany in World War I. In 1954 in the U.S., Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day.

Men and women who serve in the military do so with an inner drive that not all people may understand or recognize. Let us respect all who are called to service and who in that duty travel far beyond their hometown.

The U.S. draft ended in 1973. Men between age 18 and 25 are required (www.sss.gov) “to register with Selective Service. It’s important to know that even though he is registered, a man will not automatically be inducted into the military.” Selective Service does not yet require the same registration for young women of this age and maybe it is time that it does. Glass ceilings can, and continue to be broken in the military, too. Patriotism should have no gender. It is something to think about.

A statue in Milton, not far from the town office building, commemorates a poem connected to World War I.

“In Flanders Fields” was written in 1915 by John McCrae, a Canadian physician, poet and artist who served in the war as a soldier and during the Second Battle of Ypres in Belgium. He died of pneumonia before the war’s end in France. The poem boosted the connection between remembrance, especially of wartime and its consequences, and the red poppy.

“In Flanders Fields”

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.”

– Lisa D. Connell

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