Thank a veteran every day

Published 11:56 am Friday, November 13, 2015

In America — or wherever there are Americans — we can largely come and go as we please. We can seek the work we want or can find. We can educate our children. We can enjoy our leisure.

Among the many reasons we’re able to do such things, and so much more, is because of our veterans. The men and women who have served in this country or abroad have ensured such freedoms.

During the Veterans Day program at Sgt. Jayton D. Patterson VFW 4411, a series of veterans and auxiliary members spoke on their experiences in past wars or support of the post members.

At times, the speakers became emotional. Deservedly so, for their experiences will never leave them.

On Memorial Day in May, Americans pay homage to the men and women who “gave the last full measure of devotion,” as President Abraham Lincoln put it in the Gettysburg Address.

Veterans Day, though, is different. On Veterans Day, Americans are urged to remember that serving in our nation’s armed forces represents a sacrifice for all who do so, whether in war or at peace. Originally set as a time to remember the end of World War I, it got its current name and focus in 1954, after World War II and the Korean Conflict proved that American men and women would continue to sacrifice the safety and comfort of home to fight in faraway places to advance the ideal of liberty.

While it is vital that we never forget those who gave their lives in defense of freedom and democracy, we also should never lose sight of the debt of gratitude we owe to the heroes whose service to our nation involved the ultimate risk, if not the ultimate sacrifice.

Don’t limit your appreciate to veterans on just one or two occasions of the year. Whenever you meet a veteran, take a minute to shake his or her hand and say “Thank you.” It’s the least we can do for those who were willing to give the most they could give.