Going about our daily routines, many of us don’t think about veterans, what they’ve done for our country and what they’ve gone through.
Best case scenario, we take their services for granted.
Worst case, we only remember what they’ve done for our country on two annual national holidays: Veterans Day (Nov. 11) and Memorial Day (the last Monday in May).
Veterans Day is a day to honor all who served in the military in wartime or peacetime. Memorial Day is a day to remember and honor military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle.
We remember those two days because schools, banks and government offices close throughout the country and the holidays are marked on our wall and desk calendars. Otherwise, we probably would forget to celebrate the patriotic days.
Our veterans deserve more than that, though.
There were about 20.4 million U.S. veterans in 2016, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Of that number, 28,000 of those veterans live in Placer County. They signed up to deter war and to protect our country’s security.
When joining the armed services, they knew that being assigned to dangerous missions was possible and that many personnel would be killed in action or be severely injured. Whether serving in the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corps or Air Force, members of each branch have sacrificed their lives for their country. The total number of Americans killed in action is more than 1.1 million, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
Yet the veterans didn’t complain about the sacrifices made or the comforts of home they gave up when deployed.
Veterans Day is officially this Sunday and observed both Sunday and Monday.
This week, let’s show Placer County veterans that we appreciate what they did and that their efforts are not forgotten. Attend veterans’ ceremonies with your family. Thank veterans not just this week but any time you see them at the store, at a restaurant, at a meeting or at a social gathering proudly wearing their military cap, pin or T-shirt for their service in our behalf.
We’ve been celebrating Veterans Day since 1954, when Armistice Day honoring world peace and World War I veterans was changed to Veterans Day to honor American veterans of all wars. It’s a tradition just as important today, if not more so, in the ongoing War on Terror.
Today’s veterans and those on active duty should have our respect, our thanks and our support.