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Take time to thank a veteran, then listen

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A note from publisher Steve Johnson, retired Major, Infantry USAR

Every year on Nov. 11 we pause to recognize and honor the men and women who have defended our country and the freedoms we all enjoy. It’s our duty on Veterans Day – and every day – to remember their sacrifices and to ensure we continue to honor our commitments to them.

Veterans Day is a reminder to say “thank you for your service.”

As I have written before, these few simple words mean a lot to someone who has been in the service. You may be surprised at how many veterans have not heard these words before.

Today is a time to wish for good health and a safe return home for those in active duty. It’s a reminder to take a minute and reach out to a vet friend and tell them how much the country appreciates the sacrifices they have made. Tell them how much you appreciate the sacrifices they have made.

Ask them questions about their service.

And listen. Really listen.

Ask them what it means to have served. Sure, it’s possible they won’t (or can’t) tell you – and its possible they’ll turn away with a mist forming in their eyes as some things are too difficult to put into words.

But if you’re lucky, they might just share their story with you – and you should be ready to listen. The stories our nation’s veterans tell offer a rich history full of comradery, tragedy, self-discovery, honor and triumph.

To all the men and women who have defended our country, we thank you for your service.

And please, keep sharing your stories, because we want to listen.

Cheers! Stephen J