Ondra Berry: Nation joins for ‘common purpose’ on Veterans Day

This year marks the 100th anniversary of President Woodrow Wilson’s designation of Nov. 11 as Armistice Day, which sought to honor those who fought in “The Great War” or so-called “war to end all wars.”

As history shows, the latter did not prove true.

War continued: from World War II through the conflicts of the Cold War and ongoing wars in the Middle East.

In 1954, President Dwight David Eisenhower changed the designation of Veterans Day to honor the service of veterans of all wars.

As Eisenhower said: “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose.” Eisenhower used the term “common purpose” often throughout his career, including his first inauguration in 1953.

This common purpose upholds the Constitution, defends our Democracy and promotes freedom.

The men and women who fight for the common purpose — our nation’s veterans — have faced an extraordinarily unique challenge in our nation’s history with 18 years of continuous warfighting that began following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

It continues today. And it continues with the Nevada National Guard.

Since I became the Nevada National Guard’s adjutant general on Sept. 1, the Nevada Army National Guard has mobilized two units for deployments to Kuwait and Afghanistan.

Another unit deployed the week before I became adjutant general. That brings the total deployed Nevada Guardsmen since August to more than 100. Additionally, earlier this year, about 300 members of the Nevada Air National Guard completed deployments to various locations around the Middle East.

As Guardsmen, these men and women are both veterans and members of our state’s citizenry, simultaneously serving our nation and Nevada communities.

Increased National Guard deployments highlight a new National Guard in the post-Vietnam War era and “all-volunteer force.” The nation’s reliance on the National Guard of all 54 states and territories has grown exponentially and the Guard has evolved from a strategic reserve to an operational force.

The more than 4,300 Nevada National Guardsmen — about three-fourths working one weekend a month and two weeks each year — are trained to the same standards as their active duty brethren.

Nevada Guardsmen fight our nation’s wars.

They defend our state.

They build partnerships around the world.

And they serve courageously to promote and defend Eisenhower’s “common purpose.”

Brig. Gen. Ondra Berry is the Nevada National Guard Adjutant General.


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