Today, we remember those few who have given so much for so many. Veterans Day, or Armistice Day for those who remember the time between World War I and World War II, has been a date which we have celebrated since the end of World War I. It is meant to cause reflection by all about the service of not only the veterans, but also those who are currently serving.

To this end, it should be mentioned that I, along with my father, am a veteran. I served my country and was injured from 1996 to 1997. My dad served from 1965 to 1969, with much of that time spent in Vietnam or on board ship in the Pacific Ocean.

For those who have seen combat, or spent time in military service, Veterans Day is a time to reflect on what they did, friends who have been lost and friends who remain. Each veteran is part of a brotherhood. As my first sergeant in basic training said, we are 1/64 of the population of the United States. Few people have worn the uniform of the United States. Fewer still remain to talk about their expreiences.

I would encourage each of you to find a veteran, talk to them and learn about their experiences. I’ll be honest, some won’t talk, others will talk openly. Still others will shy away from the issue. But above all, thank them for their service to this nation.

For the World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War vets, many of them were not more than mere boys when they were drafted into the military. They went to war, and many came back men and a vast majority have seen things they would rather forget.

We are fortunate to live in the strongest, freest nation in the world. We can travel where we want, say what we want and pretty much do what we want. We have the opportunity to become anything we choose and have the freedom to have our own businesses. Many nations aren’t that lucky. In many countries, the government requires you to have papers to travel between cities, they tell you what you can and can’t be and if you speak against the governement, you will be penalized severely.

Our nation has remained free for the past 229 years because of the willingness of a few individuals to come together for the common defense of all. As President Thomas Jefferson said in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rigths, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Jefferson further stated that to secure the rights, governments are instituted and derive their powers from the consent of the people.

From the foundation of our great nation, soldiers and veterans have done this.

As the bumper sticker says, “If you love your freedom, thank a vet!” On this of all days, thank a veteran.

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