World War I officially ended a century ago with the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. For the past 80 years, Nov. 11 has marked a nationwide acknowledgment of the end of WWI, but more importantly, it's become a day to appreciate the service and sacrifices of those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Not to be confused with Memorial Day, which pays tribute to those who gave their lives for their country, Veterans Day is an opportunity to honor the living who served, for the often unseen trade-offs and challenges that come with military service.
Each year, Pamplin Media Group attempts to capture the stories of veterans, to better understand the impact the military had on their lives and get a glimpse of what their service to country looked like.
For some, it was slogging through war zones on foot in Vietnam. For others, it was exhaling after a near-miss midair in a B-29 bomber. And for many, it was waiting. Some served decades before ever being deployed, others never got the call at all.
Regardless of the details of their service, each veteran gave years of their life, some spending long stints away from family, their own young children and the comforts that civilian life affords. Those who landed in combat zones also risked injury, or worse, death. But it's the invisible wounds and personal sacrifices that often get lost in Veterans Day celebrations.
This year, there was a bigger push for representation of veterans from all walks of life and eras of service. Thanks to the frank conversations and invaluable behind-the-scenes help of Elizabeth Estabrooks and the Oregon Women Veterans division, this year's Salute to Veterans publication offers a more well-rounded look at those who served and the toll that military service takes on veterans and their families.
Through the lens of one veteran, it also explores the risk that choosing to start or grow a family can have on military service. Readers will learn about the unique challenges and often troubling experiences of child-bearing women in the military.
They'll also see the evolution of the role that women played in combat zones.
There is still room yet for growth and greater inclusion. Thankfully, this year, the Oregon Historical Society is offering a poignant look into the seldom-explored history of racial segregation of the U.S. military. You can get more information about the exhibit in this section and online at pamplinmedia.com.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.