Each Veterans Day, our nation remembers the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918 – the moment when an armistice ended fighting on Europe’s Western Front and the guns of World War I finally fell silent. Men returned to their families, cities began to rebuild, and nations around the globe celebrated the return to peace for which they had been aching.

The official date of recognition originated in 1919 as “Armistice Day” and remained that way until 1954 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially changed the name to “Veterans Day,” proclaiming, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

Since then, Veterans Day has remained a day when we stand united as one grateful nation to recognize and thank all who answered the call to military service. From Normandy to Vietnam, from Korea to Baghdad, and in every other theater of operations around the globe, time and again our veterans have paid the price for America’s peace. Each stood bravely, raised their right hand, and made the decision to leave behind their families and loved ones to be a part of something larger than their own interests. Regardless of where or how they served, each one earned, and then set in place, a brick that strengthened the resolve and stature of our great nation.

The service of our veterans spans the entire length of our country’s proud existence. The courage and sacrifice of a few have secured the rights and privileges enjoyed by all, and the lesson to be learned is about “service”.

Through my own military service, I learned how to apply my skills and talents to tasks that contributed to the greater good. I learned my place in the larger fabric of society and applied myself in the ways that I thought I could be most effective in leaving the world at least a little bit better than it was when I arrived. It is my goal each day even now to live to that standard and, by example, to encourage my family and friends to do the same.

From its first day, our military has led the way for the United States of America. Our veterans serve as a reminder of what we can do together with a commitment to service – be it military service or otherwise.

This Veterans Day, we remember the fallen, just as we show our respect to those who served and are still among us. My encouragement as you remember our nation’s veterans is to take their example of service and sacrifice as a calling. Find a way to get involved and to use your talents to make a difference in your community. Even the smallest act of service can become a flame, and then a fire, and then a blaze of change that can positively impact the lives of many you may never even know.

To those who served, thank you. Your example of service and sacrifice has not gone unnoticed, and we remain grateful for your willingness to carry the load of the many. On behalf of myself and the City of Amarillo, best wishes for a safe and happy Veterans Day.

Jared Miller is the City Manager for the City of Amarillo. He previously served as an Intelligence Officer in the United States Navy for 11 years and deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).