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There are those who will remember the Armistice Day Storm of 1940. And there are those who have heard of it, but didn't endure the fury of the weather that changed a more-than-warm, beautiful autumn day into an intense storm. 

What comes to mind is how symbolic that storm was on that day.

When instilled as Armistice Day, it was the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month at 11 o'clock, to remember November 11, 1918. 

We take this time each year to close our eyes and say a prayer, not only to commemorate the "war to end all wars," but also to remember people who lived and died because of war. 

Today we honor all branches of the service, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, and we also honor those families who paid a price for a war that should never have been.

This comes to mind: while attending a veterans program at an Albert Lea elementary school, we saw one young man proudly display his dad’s military picture because his dad couldn't be there in person to hear him sing and see his display project in person. Sometimes we forget the time that goes by for our servicemen and women and their families, and kids grow up fast.

In 1926 this special day was made an official legal holiday. In 1954 the holiday was changed to Veterans Day. 

We are not the only country to commemorate this day. Other countries too remember and respect Remembrance Day, Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday. 

During the first official Armistice Day, President Woodrow Wilson invited the World War I veterans to the White House. 

Today, it is a federal holiday. Many veterans groups, businesses and particularly dining establishments invite and honor the Veterans with a free breakfast or luncheon as a Thank You. What a fitting and filling blessing to our living veterans. Government offices are closed. Some schools are, too, but many choose to use this day to instill patriotism in the minds of our children and to help them realize how important our country and government are. It is hoped that the day brings the realization that it is important for all of us to defend that constitution, to be active in enforcing it, and not assume that someone else will take care of it as wisely as it should. 

The presenting of the colors, the pledge of allegiance to the flag and the respect given to our country’s patriotic songs like "The Star Spangled Banner" and "America the Beautiful" are not run-of-the-mill fluff, but traditionally important. These songs have meaning one should not forget. 

Just as weather can change a peaceful beautiful day into a tragic, chaotic event, so can war and the peace we all seek can be changed in almost a blink of an eye. 

I, for one, value our servicemen and women and our veterans. The things they have done to give us the freedoms we have should not be forgotten. Those freedoms should in fact be fought for, not just on a battlefield, but in our everyday living. We all share in that responsibility. 

Wars are fought, won or lost by the attitude of the ordinary person who believes in equality and intelligent, unselfish agreement as well. Striving to do the right things for everyone and not just a favored few is not unlike any war, and should be treated as such.

I believe those who run the government or those who have different outlooks should not be exempt or have priority over the ordinary taxpaying citizen. They should be expected to share the same laws.

Glad to be an American? Now and at any time we should further the cause not on a battlefield but by the way we vote, expectations of what the government does or does not do for those who need it most.

We honor our Veterans and servicemen and women when we stand up for equality and intelligent strength in government. We owe it to them to protect what they have saved for us.

We can fight without ammunition and destruction by doing our part here on the home front. It is important that we let our opinions be known, not just complain and leave it up to the other guy. We can make a difference to protect what our service people have fought and died for.

Look to where help is really coming from and people who share. Honor and take part in aid given by our churches, schools or other organizations. They are there in support in times of need - emotional and for practical purposes. It's time. Take a stand. 

Mark Twain said, "Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest."

Every day - not just Veterans Day! NEVER TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED.

Birthdays and anniversaries:

• Thursday, Nov. 21: Paul Wallace, Angie Johnson, Paul Kasper, Desirae Farr, Cheryl Harpel, Greg Schimek, Leah Leak, Leah Maddox Larson, Abby Underland, Dustin Burshem, Robin & Jan Jepson

• Friday, Nov. 22: Mallory Luhring, her 11th; Whitney McCamish, Jodell Hanson, Keven Larson, Donna Maixner, Jane Tappe, David L. Hanson, Jason Peterson, Jacki Shadden, Elzo Peterson

• Saturday, Nov. 23: Amy Hunnicutt Kromminga, Lisa Holmes Rietsema, Margaret Loven, Marietta Sommers Rupe, Rick Thompson, Sara Anderson, Joyce Ditlveson, Amanda Farr, George & Diana Ritz

• Sunday, Nov. 24: Blaine Boverhuis, Deb Peterson Schmidt, Bea Bunn, Ellen Pearl LaFave, Heather Snow, Lisa Hunnicutt Vreeman, Bob Hanson, Rita Glynn, Abraham Ladlie, Kyle Layland, Scott & Lisa Reitsema

• Monday, Nov. 25: Scott Groth, Calista Lerum, Randy Born, Mitchel Hill, Joel Langlie, Brian Vogt, Gideon Jude Long, Daryl & Kathy Paulsen, Ken & Iva Sletten

• Tuesday, Nov. 26: Darlene Krohnberg, Cody Christensen, Robert Gasner, Linda Stieglbauer, Drew Vangen, Ashley Bergerson, Al & Diane Lee, Jamie & Kate Cameron, Brian & Heather Schember

• Wednesday, Nov. 27: Kyle Goslee, Olivia Rae Kohn, Paul Kasper, Cyrstal Spurr, Mike Draayer, Lorna Berg, Sandra Tonsing

Wishing you quiet moments of beauty on your special day! 

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