Today is Veterans Day, a federal holiday created in 1954 to honor and salute ALL of those who served in the United States Armed Services.

It is different from Memorial Day which is held in late May and pays tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice and died during their military service.

While we should appreciate the service of ALL our veterans 365 days a year today is the designated holiday and a time when we should thank all of those who served from the shrinking “greatest generation” during World War II to those fighting a very different war today.

My late father served in the U.S. Marine Corps and while never sent overseas he was a hero to me because like many others he jumped at the opportunity to defend his country.  He actually forged his mother’s signature to enlist during the late stages of World War II and years later was recalled during the Korean War.

He established friendships during those times that would last a lifetime although some of those friends never returned, something he would talk about often.

 

Remembering Kevin's dad's accomplishments with the US Marines (Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ)

While they never ask for it Veterans Day is our opportunity to simply thank the men and women who have served.  Most did so out of a sense of obligation and clearly there have been times when this country and its citizens did not show its appreciation.
Fortunately that has changed in recent years and the honor and respect must continue from us. At the same time we need our government to do better in taking care of those that need it the most.

So today go out of your way to thank a vet. Whether it be a relative, friend, co-worker or even a total stranger who might be wearing a hat or something else that proudly displays their military service.  It’s their day and they deserve it.