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Our View: Monday is the day to 'thank a vet'

If you are reading this editorial — written by a free citizen in a free country — then thank a veteran. Monday we recognize the contributions of our nation’s military veterans — those who served in both war and peace, stateside and abroad.

The local ceremony is at the St. Croix County Government Center, Monday, Nov. 11, at 11 a.m. The guest speaker is veteran Stan Wekkin, currently North Hudson village president. Master of Ceremonies will be Merlin Blaisdell, the county veteran’s service officer. The event is organized by the VFW-Post 2115, American Legion Post 50 and VVA Chapter and Indianhead Chapter of the POW-MIA.

As we honor all veterans Monday, remember that the wars that America’s veterans have fought were, on the most basic level, new struggles against many of humanity’s old enemies. History repeats itself and tells us that dangerous regimes are not new. Our survival in that dangerous world has been secured by the men and women we honor on Veterans Day.

Nobody prays more earnestly for peace than the soldier who goes to war, because nobody knows better the sacrifices that may be required. Yet knowing that, they willingly put on the uniform of the United States military and go forth to defend and protect the rest of us and our freedom here at home. That is what the soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Greatest Generation did, just as it is with our defenders today. There simply is no greater sacrifice, and every American is forever in their debt.

Today we are still involved with fighting in the Middle East. Hundreds of thousands of our nation’s “best and brightest” young men and women have volunteered to place themselves in harm’s way. It’s up to us to also recognize the debt of gratitude to these future “veterans.” Like the veterans who have served in earlier wars and conflicts, today’s defenders of freedom are deserving of our respect and gratitude.

Our veterans and current troops should have our unwavering support. We must give nothing less. At the same time, programs that have been developed to assist veterans — including the new soldiers fighting our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — must be protected. We simply cannot try to balance the federal budget on the backs of veterans. Monday we pay tribute to those brave men and women who were willing to fight on our behalf. We pray for our troops in battles today and express our gratitude to the veterans who fought in previous battles.

God Bless America!