The Model for Veterans and Remembrance Days
|Model for the Oliver Hazard Perry statue in Buffalo, N.Y. |
Owned by the US Navy War College Museum in Newport, R.I.
November 11th is Veterans Day in the US and Remembrance Day in Canada, Great Britain and other Commonwealth countries. The basic intent of these days is to honor veterans of the nations’ wars especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
A veteran is someone who has served in the armed forces. The highest form of that service is exemplified by those who exhibit the qualities cherished by all armed services; duty, honor, courage, perseverance and compassion.
We call Oliver Hazard Perry, America’s greatest naval hero for a reason. During the 10 month Lake Erie campaign of 1813, Perry performed incredible feats of courage, leadership, management and fortitude in building a fleet of ships in the wilderness - ships that fought a battle to decide the fate of a continent. In that battle, naval historian Samuel Eliot Morison said that Perry had, “…shown the mark of a really great military commander – the ability, in a fluid, uncertain tactical situation, to make a decision that snatched victory from defeat.”
His triumph and compassionate treatment of a defeated foe, enabled the US to reunite and grow into its full potential. In the Autumn of 1813 it brought a very divided American people together. It laid the foundation for a peace that has lasted over 200 years.
November 11th was made a legal holiday by the US Congress in 1938. Not just a day to remember veterans it was also promulgated to be, “…a day dedicated to the cause of world peace...”
There is no better example of a veteran’s service than Perry’s front line combat leadership. There is no better example of how peace can be spawned from war than the ultimate results of the battle of Lake Erie – two centuries of peace between the US, Canada and Great Britain.
Oliver Hazard Perry and the peace resulting from the battle of Lake Erie are the models for the true spirit and intent of Veterans Day. As well, the story of his magnanimous victory, that brought his countrymen together, is a beacon for a divided nation to follow today.