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Take some time to thank a veteran for defending the freedoms we enjoy

Today, Veterans Day, we take time to honor those who have served in our military, something that we’ve done for just over a century.

Originally observed as Armistice Day, the first event on Nov. 11, 1918, marked the end of World War I. In 1954, Nov. 11 became known as Veterans Day.

We have not always treated out veterans well. Those returning home from some wars — World Wars I and II notably — were greeted with ticker tape parades.

Not the soldiers who responded to the nation’s call for service — many drafted into mandatory service — during the Vietnam War. We treated our Vietnam veterans horribly, inhumanely at times. Never mind that 58,220 American troops became casualties of that war.

Those who died in Vietnam are among the more than 600,000 U.S. casualties since World War I.

We owe those who served and who continue to serve so much more than a “thank you for your service,” a free car wash or a free meal one day out of the year, although those tokens of appreciation may mean more than most people know.

We owe those who stepped up and took the oath to defend the Constitution. We owe those who served on the front lines as well as in support positions. We owe them more than simple gratitude for defending the freedoms that we cherish and enjoy as American citizens.

We owe them the acknowledgement that their service meant something to our continued way of life.

And it’s not just the veterans. It’s the families of veterans who made their own sacrifices during times of conflict, particularly those who were touched by the supreme sacrifice on the battlefield.

Today let’s all take some time to send up prayers of gratitude for our military veterans — those who made it home as well as those who did not. And to those who made it home, we offer a heartfelt “thank you” for your service in defense of our nation.

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