We owe a debt of gratitude to our veterans, whether they served during the conflicts of war or in peace time. It is because of their sacrifices that we as a nation are able to enjoy our many freedoms.
The United States first started honoring war veterans with a national observance when President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed an Armistice Day for Nov. 11, 1919. In proclaiming the holiday, he said:
"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with lots of pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations."
Years later in 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed into a law a measure that changed the name of the federal holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day, thereby offering a recognition to all who have served in the military, whether during war or in peace time.
We ask those who serve for many sacrifices. We ask them to be away from their friends and loved ones and to travel all over the world in order to keep our country and the world, safe from many dangers. Many do not return. Many return with wounds and scars that last a lifetime. We also need to honor their families, who so often must sacrifice as well.
As we do these things, we must also remember that members of our military cannot do these things without our support. We must insist that our political leaders only put our service members in harm's way when there is a clear mission. We must insist that our veterans be given needed assistance when they come back from the battlefield.
As Hamilton County residents join the rest of the nation Thursday to remember the contributions of veterans, please tell a veteran what their sacrifices haves meant to your freedom. But do more than tell a veteran of a past conflict, send a letter or care package to one of our current service members to let them know how much their service means to you now.