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Springer Journal: It Is Still A Special Day

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PINEHURST, N.C. — Two years ago in this column, I suggested that we all spend a few moments on Veterans Day and say "thank you" to a veteran of our armed forces. Veterans Day, much like Christmas and New Year's Day, remains celebrated on the actual date of the holiday rather than on a Monday as several other holidays are celebrated.

Each year, Nov. 11 is set aside to honor our surviving veterans, some 26 million of them, as well as our deceased veterans who have served, fought and died for the freedoms we all enjoy. This year Veterans Day falls on a Friday. Go to your calendar and mark the date.

Our veterans represent a diversity of political interests, religious beliefs, gender and ethnic backgrounds. Their military service was/is to our nation and to its citizenry. They served, fought and died for our freedoms and our way of life.

Sometimes it is difficult in our society to know our neighbors well. Consequently, it is sometimes equally difficult to really know those who have served in one of our military services. Most vets don't make a big deal of their service to our nation; yet, their service to our nation is a big deal. Without it we simply would not enjoy the many freedoms which we take for granted.

Even if we do not know who has or hasn't served in our nation's uniformed services, there are still ways to say thanks. For example, on the days immediately preceding Veterans Day and those days immediately following Veterans Day, we can single out our vets at public gatherings. Whether it is a Friday night high school football game, or a weekend worship service, we could ask the veterans to stand and receive our respect and thanks.

All of our businesses could display specific banners saluting our veterans. All of us could fly the American flag on Nov. 11, which would quietly, yet reverently, let the veterans know they are appreciated. If you really care, and I mean really care, how about taking a child to a Veterans Home or Hospital and visit those members who have really sacrificed for those freedoms we all worship? Listen to their stories and thank them for their sacrifice. That will be a civics lesson the youth will not forget.

Many of our cities, towns and rural communities will host a Veterans Day parade or special event. Take the time to participate in these events. Salute our veterans who are there and the millions of other veterans who they represent. Hundreds of thousands of our veterans gave their all in our nation's wars. We can certainly give a few hours to show our respect and admiration for their service.

As a veteran with over three decades of service, I may be somewhat prejudiced about this "special day." However, as an American, I am incredibly thankful that we have had tens of millions of our best and brightest join in our nation's endeavors to secure and maintain our special way of life. We should be eternally grateful to those who have served and are serving today.

Let me leave you with a couple "ifs" to ponder.

If you enjoy freedom of speech ... thank a vet. If you enjoy freedom of religion ... thank a vet. If you enjoy freedom of the press ... thank a vet. If you enjoy the freedom to assemble ... thank a vet. If you enjoy the right to a free trial ... thank a vet. If you enjoy the right to vote ... thank a vet. If you enjoy America ... thank a vet.


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