Veterans are a variety

Published 2:22 pm Thursday, November 10, 2016

When we think of veterans, most of us usually think of an older man with white, graying or no hair. Veterans include men of all ages above the age of 17. Veterans include women of all ages. Veterans encompass many races, many religions and different political parties. Veterans are a cross-section of the United States of America.

They share one thing in common. They served their nation. Some died on battlefields. Some went down with their ships. Others died in the air. Some were wounded — physically, mentally or both. Many survived, returned home and became productive citizens. No matter their measure of service, they protected this nation from those who wanted to take away our freedoms, enslave us and rule us.

Our veterans, from the Revolutionary War to the wars being waged today, sacrificed much, often receiving little in return — other than a free nation to return to and continue to nourish.

In North Carolina, there are about 85,000 women veterans, according to a 2015 report by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Some of those women are no doubt mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers. Remember the old joke about your mother wearing Army boots? Well, some of them did. Some of them still do.

We have veterans who recently fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have veterans who served in South Korea, looking across the 38th Parallel into North Korea. We have veterans who served in Germany, Japan and other places overseas.

Veterans suffered at Valley Forge, New Orleans, Gettysburg, Belleau Wood, Iwo Jim, Chosin Reservoir, Khe Sanh, in the Pacific Ocean and Baghdad, to name a few places.

Today, at the 11th hours of the 11th day of the 11th month, many of us will pause to thank our veterans. Veterans Day is officially observed once a year. That’s not enough.

Remember our veterans every day. When they wore their uniforms, they served every day.

Thank you, veterans.