Since it's Memorial Day, I thought I'd take a look at some appropriate words. =) I know I did "memorial" last year, though, so today we're going with "veteran."
I was a bit surprised by how old this one was for some reason. Since 1500 it has carried the meaning "old experienced soldier." It's taken from the French vétéran, which is in turn from the Latin "veteranus," which means, simply, old. (Sorry, all you vets out there! LOL) Of course, "veteranus" is from "vetus" which also means old, derived from a bunch of really ancient languages in which similar words mean "year."
That kind of surprised me, since its only history is attached to age and not to service. But there you have it. By the 1590s it had taken on the meaning of anyone experienced with any position, moving from noun to adjective by 1610.
But no matter where the word comes from, I certainly want to take today to thank all those men and women who have served our country, who have fought for our freedom. All those who have given of themselves for a noble cause.
And now, go enjoy your holiday. ;-) I'm off to bake a watermelon-shaped cake...