From the Capitol: Honoring Our Vets, Each and Every One

November 11, 2014

Everyone has a hero. Sometimes they are people we know. Sometimes they are people we’ve never met. Some heroes are our family members. Some are celebrities. Then there are shared groups of heroes, those who we collectively admire and respect. One of the most honored of these groups are our veterans.

We celebrate our veterans as heroes because they have sacrificed to protect our lives, our values and our way of life. We respect their stories, their experiences, their strength, their abilities, their skills and their selflessness. And on Veterans Day, we are given the opportunity to display our gratitude.

Veterans Day is a public way to come together to honor service men and women. It all began on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. At that time, during World War I, fighting paused and an armistice was declared between opposing sides. This moment in time marked what many would consider to be the end of the Great War, a moment that will be forever remembered and associated with the military veterans who protected our nation and values during those dire times. As wars continued, and people persistently fought for our country, “Armistice Day” eventually became “Veterans Day” – an opportunity to celebrate veterans of all wars on one holiday.

Having a shared holiday to celebrate our shared heroes offers us an incredible opportunity to unite and recognize the entire group of people who have protected us all. But, just as important as the collective celebration, we all must remember the need for individual recognition and individual displays of gratitude.

Sometimes, it can be hard to separate the individuals from a group of heroes and truly recognize each and every veteran who has touched our lives. So this year, in addition to raising your flag, displaying your pride and attending a local parade, I urge everyone to go out and talk to a veteran if you can. Thank them for their service and let them know how much they are appreciated. Each person who has served our nation has played a role in our history, and therefore in our future. Without each and every veteran, our lives would without a doubt look very different today.

The holiday honors this deserving group of heroes, but it is up to every one of us to celebrate and thank the individuals. So, to every veteran in our town, in our state and in our nation, I thank you for all you have sacrificed for my family and our community. To those currently serving our nation, I support you and I appreciate your strength and dedication. You are true heroes to us all. Honor Veterans Day.