We in the United States are the beneficiaries of a long line of remarkable individuals who in times of peril risked or sacrificed their lives to defend our country, and who in times of peace work in harm’s way to keep us safe. While “thank you” is the minimum we can offer, there are many ways as citizens to acknowledge how grateful we are for their service.

It’s humbling to consider the courage it took to fight in Flanders field or storm the beaches of Normandy or the islands of the Pacific.

It was emotional when I listened to my late father-in-law’s descriptions of the conditions in the Korean theater he and his fellow soldiers endured in the fifties. I once asked him why he and his family never camped, and he described to me what freezing in a tent for months at a time would do to your desire to camp. I felt stupid as if I should have understood the sacrifices he made for us.

It is humbling to consider the sacrifices so many made in Vietnam, the Gulf Wars, Iraq, Afghanistan, and many others during our history.

And, let’s not forget we have no history as a country if it wasn’t for a few brave rebels who endured unimaginable hardships and put their lives on the line for a cause that was focused on one concept: freedom.

Veterans Day is one of those times when I’m I’m at a loss for words other than “thank you.”

However, we should never be at a loss of actions, and showing our thanks should be an everyday occurrence, not just a once a year reminder.

When you vote, offer a silent “thank you” for this opportunity.

When you highlight your disdain and disagreement for policies and politicians, give thanks to those who sacrificed to allow you to maintain this right.

For those who teach our children, strive to help them understand where their freedoms come from and who’s responsible for sustaining them. Bring the veterans into your classrooms to help them understand what it means to serve.

And when it comes time to engage your elected officials, let them know that taking proper, respectful care of all of our active service personnel and our veterans must be at the top of their priority lists.

To our veterans and active duty service personnel, thank you. We are forever in your debt.

Art's Signature