As Veterans Day approaches, we want to thank and remember all those who have served and who are continuing to serve. From everyday demands, training and deployments, veterans have sacrificed so much to protect our freedom, keep us and others safe and to give to their country.  

For some, serving in the military has been a family tradition, passed down with each generation. For others, they may be the first to have ever served in their family. Whatever the case is, there is a sense of pride in their heart and a certain level to which they hold their head high.

The military is a diverse place where people of all nationalities, ages and different cultural backgrounds step up to serve. There are some who have fled their countries to serve ours, and some who knew from a young age that this is what they wanted to do. Every man and woman who has worn the uniform in the face of sacrifice deserves a special thank you on this day.

Many have seen the deserts, the mountains and the jungles in a way that most of us never will—face-to-face with combat and risk. These are those we remember and honor. These are the people we thank.

When you’re driving down the freeway and see the American flag flying high in the sky, when you hear your favorite patriotic song on the radio, when you drink a cold one after a long hard work day or barbecue on a football Sunday, these are the little reminders and glimpses of our freedom. Our freedom which is constantly being defended, a fight for freedom which has been the top priority of everyone who has ever sworn to protect it.  

The sacrifices these men and women make go beyond what anyone could imagine. Being away from home months at a time with deployment rotation after rotation, and the hardships some of these veterans endure after being in combat is a serious matter. What affects our military personnel, can affect their families too. Many veterans can remain forever changed from the impacts their service has had on them. Whether that’s physically, emotionally or mentally, the impact is there.  

Veterans Day isn’t just a day to say thank you and honor all our servicemen and women, it is also a day to give back to those who have given so much to us. While this day serves as a reminder and special honor for our veterans, our thankfulness goes beyond the scope of these 24 hours.  

To our veterans and active duty, we cannot begin to understand the true depth of your sacrifice, but we can express our gratitude and let you know the true depth of our thankfulness.  

To our community, there are many ways in which you can give back to veterans throughout the year. You can begin by researching local non-profit organizations that work to provide housing and food for many veterans who don’t have the resources. Donating even the smallest of your time to these organizations can make a lasting impact.  

Another way is to continue to write and send care packages to our soldiers deployed overseas. While soldiers do not expect these types of things, the love that comes with it is a great way to boost morale in our men and women who are so far from home. Let’s not allow anyone to walk away empty handed from a mail call.  If you do not know where to start or where to send one, “Operation Gratitude” is an organization that can help coordinate where to send your letters or care packages to.

One last way is to simply “greenlight a vet.” This movement has been sparked all over the country since it first began in 2016. This is the act of simply exchanging a light bulb on your porch with a green one. This shows you are in constant support of veterans all over the globe. Visit greenlightavet.com for more information on this movement.  

However, it is that you like to show your thankfulness to the service of our veterans, please continue to do so. Remember, “all gave some, and some gave all.”

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