Veterans worthy of our appreciation

Published 1:01 am Sunday, November 13, 2011

We would be remiss if we failed to recognize the sacrifices of our nation’s veterans. Veterans in Warren County and Vicksburg were honored during the past week with an annual breakfast, a parade along Washington Street, a service at the Municipal Rose Garden and the laying of a wreath. They deserve all of our respect and admiration.

Oftentimes, Veterans Day is lost in the holiday shuffle. Tucked before Thanksgiving and the increasingly intrusive Christmas commercial rush, it is more of a day of remembrance and honor. Gifts are not exchanged. Large turkey dinners are not staples. Make no mistake, though, Veterans Day is as important a day as any of our national observances.

Veterans Day also is a chance to say “thank you.” Veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait and today’s actions in the Middle East still live among us. America has assembled the greatest armed force in the history of mankind. Save Dec. 7, 1941, and Sept. 11, 2011, no major attacks have been launched against the United States since brother fought brother in the War Between the States. Contemplate that. In a violent world, only twice has our nation been attacked from foreign shores. Both of those were sneak attacks. Both were answered with deft fury.

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Our veterans helped beat back Nazism and Fascism. They defeated the spread of Communism. They have captured or killed many of today’s greatest enemies of America. Their sacrifices last well beyond their time in the armed service.

If you didn’t make the parade, or other events, or have yet to find a veteran to say thanks, it is never too late. Veterans will say they answered when duty called. Many Americans who never had to pick up a weapon in defense of freedom can do their duty as well — find a veteran, shake his or her hand and let them know how much their efforts are appreciated.