The following editorial is from the Tri-City Herald.
The holiday season is upon us, whether we’re ready or not.
Marketing campaigns are in full force, Black Friday deals are happening early and Christmas was on display before Halloween.
And while many of us are anticipating Thanksgiving later this month, there is a holiday that comes first, one where we all need to give our thanks: Veterans Day.
On this day each year, Americans observe a day in appreciation of those who have served our country in the armed forces.
Veterans are all around us in this community and should be appreciated every day.
They could be anyone – from accountants who once served as MPs to contractors making beautiful homes to retirees proudly displaying their service on a ball cap to those still struggling to cope with their military experience.
Whether veterans served in combat or trained for the possibility of it, they all went into the service knowing that the call could someday come.
They were all prepared to sacrifice everything for the safety of their country and its citizens. They put the well-being of others above themselves.
We cannot thank them enough, but we can take time to remember and honor the more than 22 million veterans among us.
If you want an experience that will rock you to your core, visit Arlington National Cemetery on any day. Every American should. In one glance you could see grieving young families burying a loved one lost in the line of duty on an overseas mission, as well as an aging group honoring a solider from wars gone by.
The sheer number of veterans finding their final rest there tells a slice of American history and makes appreciation for those who serve immediately palpable.
And let’s not forget those living among us.
Take the time to thank a veteran you know or one you don’t. Buy a cup of coffee for a stranger or thank a person in uniform at an airport. Many organizations exist in our community to assist and honor veterans year-round. Consider being a volunteer or offering a donation to a worthy veterans organization.
Suicide rates for veterans are highest in Western states, with the majority of those who take their own lives over the age of 50. The struggle is real for some veterans, and you could be someone who helps make a difference.
Some may only know Veterans Day as another paid day off, and that’s unfortunate.
We are all able to live the lives we do today because of those who have served, those who currently serve and future generations who will answer that same noble cause.
Take the time to really process that this year, and think about what that means. In a world of uncertainty, we stand strong because of our veterans and those who are actively serving or in the reserves.
So thank you, veterans. It takes a special breed of bravery to do what you have done for this nation and we are eternally grateful.
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