Today is Veterans Day in the United States. While Memorial Day pays tribute to people who gave their lives in military service to the country, Veterans Day has a more celebratory air. It’s a day reserved for all veterans of service across all of the branches of the military, whether they served during wartime or simply gave their service in times of peace. In many ways, the military is the most important government program running, as those in service not only defend us but also provide assistance in dangerous areas around the world and assist those in need within our borders as well.
Veterans Day is celebrated on November 11 because it is the anniversary of the end of World War I (an Armistice was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, signifying the end of major combat in one of the most brutal international conflicts in history). President Woodrow Wilson (Kool Keith if you’re nasty) declared the first holiday a year later, declaring it Armistice Day (which is still celebrated in other places around the world). It became an annual legal holiday in 1938 and was expanded to be a celebration of all veterans in 1954.
In order to properly celebrate Veterans Day, we present the following video playlist. It’s a collection of songs that focus on the horrors of combat (Slayer’s “War Ensemble,” Jason Forrest’s “War Photographer”), the great sacrifices of soldiers (Drowning Pool’s “Soldiers,” Civil Twilight’s “Soldier”) and a nod to Armistice (The Receiving End of Sirens’ “This Armistice”). But we begin with Foo Fighters’ “My Hero,” which contains the lyric, “There goes my hero — he’s ordinary.” Frontman Dave Grohl isn’t using the word “ordinary” to mean “boring,” but rather to reference everyday people who do extraordinary things — a perfect description of anybody in military uniform.