Take a moment to thank all vets Veterans Day

THERE ARE TWO SPECIAL days set aside each year in this country to honor the men and women who have proudly worn the uniform of the American Armed Forces.

On Memorial Day, we solemnly remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and laid down their lives in defense of our freedom and liberty.

And next Wednesday, Veterans Day, we salute all of the men and women who have worn the uniform of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard or Merchant Marines throughout our long, proud history.

Veterans Day was originally a holiday to remember the armistice that ended World War I, which many hoped would be the war to end all wars. Sadly, that has proved to be far from the case, but we all hope that we are moving closer to what will be the last war.There are millions of veterans among us today.

Whether they are the dwindling numbers of World War II veterans, veterans of the ‘forgotten war’ in Korea, veterans of the divisive Vietnam War, veterans of the Gulf War or the War on Terrorism, or just men and women who served in peacetime or in the Cold War, we owe them all a debt of gratitude and thanks.

Those who defend our nation and our freedom are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

They serve around the globe and from one end of the nation to the other, on weekends and holidays. They stand ready to sacrifice time with family, home and loved ones, and even their very lives, in service to their country and to us.

It has been that way from the days of the Minutemen on the green at Lexington and Concord, to the volunteers in blue and gray answering the call in the Civil War, to the men and women who crossed the Atlantic and Pacific to fight in World War II, down to today’s young people who serve in the Global War on Terrorism.

They are, and have always been, men and women from all walks and stations of life, our neighbors, our parents, our children, our friends.

Their lives are as busy, full and demanding as ours, yet they stand and have stood willing and ready to answer the call when needed.

And when their time to serve has ended, they have returned to their lives as our neighbors, our parents, our children, our friends.

There are a number of events scheduled throughout the county to mark Veterans Day. Whether you choose to attend one of those or not, we all should take some time this weekend to remember and acknowledge their sacrifice and service.

Many of the events are at local schools, which is most appropriate. Young people need to be educated about the sacrifices and service that made their lives and lifestyles possible. Ceremonies at the schools will be a good lesson and reminder for them and for us.

Other commemorations are taking place in churches, at nursing homes or at local veterans organizations headquarters.

Even if you can’t make one of the ceremonies, at least be sure to remember the veterans and thank any that you might know or meet. The numbers of those still alive who served in World War II are becoming preciously fewer every day, while those who served in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and elsewhere deserve a measure of thanks as well.

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