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Editorial:

Regardless of political stance, thank our veterans

November 10, 2007

Our veterans know sacrifice well. They gave it at Bunker Hill, on that fateful day in 1775 when a powerful British Army attacked. They lived it on the plains of Gettysburg.

They offered it on the shores of Normandy, in Korea and in Vietnam.

And long after the American Revolution, they still are offering their lives in the name of the values that built a great nation.

On Sunday, we pause to reflect on the sacrifices of this nation’s veterans, and to thank and honor them for what they’ve given so that most of us don’t live the nightmare they surely faced.

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We have much to be thankful for on Veterans Day, albeit at the expense of what our most courageous troops have lost.

And many have lost much — their limbs, their sanity, their lives.

With their sacrifice comes a responsibility to make sure that as troops return from war, they know their reality is not a nightmare.

That means they must come back to a nation that honors them, regardless of whether people agree on the policies that prompted their service.

That honor can come in the form of government that makes it a priority to care for the healthcare, professional and housing needs of returning service men and women. But it can also come at a much more local level, with communities that do whatever we can to show veterans that their service means something.

Banners of local service men and women now line Foothill Boulevard in La Crescenta, thanks to an effort by the Crescenta Valley Town Council, a Marine’s father and 34 sponsoring businesses and individuals. The cities of Glendale and Burbank have also initiated their own banner programs, recognizing local military personnel.

Such honors can be a powerful reminder for us of the men and women who are serving, but they are also reminders for returning troops that they are coming home to a community that hasn’t forgotten them.

That kind of recognition must keep coming, especially on days like Sunday.

Maybe it comes down to a “thank you” to a veteran you see in the mall, or to a grandfather or grandmother who served, or to those gathered at a Veterans Day ceremony.

The point is, it shows we have not become so cynical that we have forgotten those who came back from war.

That point must have been on President Eisenhower’s mind when he issued the first “Veterans Day” proclamation in 1954: “On that day, let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, on foreign shores to preserve our heritage . . . . ”

As a general during World War II, Eisenhower knew war, and he realized the costs involved. In that same Veterans Day proclamation,

Eisenhower called for Americans to “reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”

Veterans know the value of peace perhaps more than anyone.

Let’s hope that peace comes soon, and that those who fought for it will find it too.

Thank you, veterans. May your sacrifices always be remembered.


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