In 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the fighting of World War I came to an end, and in its place, Armistice Day was held.
Now, each year on Nov. 11, Veterans Day is celebrated throughout the United States as a day to thank the members of our military for their service to the country.
The Creston Community High School held its annual program Friday where local veterans are honored.
Todd Jacobson, Creston social studies teacher and Army veteran spoke to the students about his time in the military and his thoughts on the national holiday.
“It’s an honor to stand in front of you today and speak on something I hold near and true to my heart, and that’s honoring our veterans, remembering the sacrifices of our nation’s heroes,” he said. “We are here to honor our veterans from the Air Force, the Army, the Marines and the Navy - the few who are willing to give up themselves to defend their brothers and sisters and their country.”
In the United States, less than 10% of people are veterans.
“Through their blood, their sacrifice, their service, veterans have ensured we have freedom, security and this free nation,” Jacobson said. “It’s impossible to put a price on that. We must remember them. We need to appreciate them.”
Jacobson was in the Army from 1987-1995, including combat operations in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq for Operation Desert Storm.
“I was not unlike many of you in high school. I did not know what I wanted to do. I thought I wanted to go to college, but we did not grow up with a lot of money in my household,” Jacobson said. “The only way for me to ever get to a four-year college was if I joined the military. So I joined our local National Guard unit, not knowing that three years later I would get the dreaded phone call – we have an operation, you are to report on this day. You need to leave your civilian life behind and you need to go into active duty. I was 20 years old.”
After training in Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, they flew into Bahrah, Saudi Arabia where they had to sleep on cardboard by the makeshift airport.
“That night, the sirens go off. These sirens represented that we were being bombed by missiles. I stood up, all the lights go out, I have no clue what’s happening,” Jacobson recounted. “The rest of that night, I slept in my chemical weapons gear because we got bombarded with gas all night long. That was my introduction. I think I had my eyes really opened to what the next six months were going to be like for my life.”
Jacobson said his military career is the reason he’s able to be here as a Creston High School teacher.
“Veterans Day is a time for all of us to just stand up and say thank you, we remember you, we are grateful for you,” he said. “The term debt has been used over the years, you hear it a lot on TV. But we forget the greatest debt of all and that is which our country owes our veterans.”