Thank you, veterans

It’s Veterans Day. If you’ve served your country, it’s a good bet you’ll encounter people who would be happy to pick up your lunch tab today by way of thanks.

Many of us take time on this day to remember family members who served in the military who have passed. This is entirely appropriate as Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military in wartime or peacetime.

But Veterans Day is largely intended to thank living veterans for their service, “to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated and to underscore the fact that all those served — not only those who died — have sacrificed and done their duty,” according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans face numerous challenges when they come home — one of which is a lack of understanding among civilians about their experience. Many are returning to the private sector as the U.S. downsizes it military personnel, but health problems and a lack of nonmilitary training can make landing a good-paying job difficult. Many veterans sacrificed the traditional college years to serve right out of high school.

So, shake a veteran’s hand. Buy him or her lunch. But understand that showing appreciation one day out of the year is the least we can do. If you really want to thank veterans, give your time and money to organizations that help veterans find jobs, recover from PTSD or stop living on the streets.

We are fortunate to have a VA hospital in our midst. One of the ways we can thank veterans is to press our representatives in Congress to make sure the department is adequately funded — and efficiently administered — to take care of our veterans’ health care needs.


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