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Honor all who have served

Today, we pay tribute to our veterans.

The nation’s observance of a day to honor those who have served in the military dates back to 1919, when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as Armistice Day to commemorate the end of World War I, then known as “The Great War.”

Although the war officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919, fighting had stopped seven months earlier when an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Thus, Nov. 11, 1918 is generally regarded as the end of the war.

Armistice Day became known as Veterans Day in 1954, and although other changes followed, this special day was eventually returned to its original celebration on Nov. 11.

Each year, we take this opportunity to honor all who have served, those who have stood up to our enemies, foreign and domestic, and kept our nation free.

These men and women deserve our utmost admiration. We hope you will make an effort today to show your appreciation by attending an area Veterans Day ceremony or by seeking out a veteran to say thanks.

They are the heroes all around us. They are the “citizen soldiers” who fill the ranks and then return to civilian life after a job well done. You may know a veteran who is still in uniform, or the veterans in your life may be great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts and next-door neighbors. They may be friends or co-workers.

Whoever they are, wherever you may find them, honor them today and every day for their patriotism, their love of  this country and their willingness to serve and to sacrifice.

Our area is rich in opportunities to pay tribute to veterans. There are parades, ceremonies and celebrations planned throughout the county today and tomorrow.

But you don’t need an organized event to show a veteran how much you appreciate his or her service. A handshake, a sincere thank-you, a cup of coffee, a meal or a card might be enough to make a difference in the life of someone who has made a difference in your life.

Our area also offers numerous opportunities to say thanks by supporting programs that help veterans find jobs, continue their education or readjust to civilian life. Groups like the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign War and Vietnam Veterans of America are among those who provide such programs.

Look around you. There are many ways to say thank you.

Be sure and find one today.