Take the time to recognize a veteran today

Voting in last week’s national mid-term election was one of Americans’ duties as citizens of this great country, and the size of the voter turnout was indicative of how important voters viewed casting their ballots to be.

Meanwhile, the intensity of the campaigns leading up to Election Day seemingly put preparations for Veterans Day’s patriotic activities in the background, although it really didn’t diminish the getting-ready for today’s important observance.

As we remind readers every year in this space, Veterans Day honors all who have served honorably in this nation’s military services during the country’s more than two centuries of existence. That contrasts with Memorial Day, observed in late May, which remembers members of the military who died during the course of serving this country.

The results of the Nov. 6 balloting must remain a subject of strong interest going forward, but today, the honoring of veterans takes center stage.

The patriotism, dedication and sacrifices that have been demonstrated over the decades and centuries by those who have served must remain a source of Americans’ comfort, great pride and appreciation.

Veterans are the people who have kept America free; those serving now continue to carry forth the mission accepted by their predecessors.

When you cross paths with a veteran today, thank him or her for having dedicated a portion of his or her life to help protect all of the freedoms that people of this country enjoy.

Without the armed forces, the United States could not exist as a free land.

Set aside time today to attend one or more Veterans Day-based events being held in this region. Also, if possible, visit one of the area’s cemeteries and take note of the tombstones bearing reference to the military service of the persons interred there.

Also, the replica of the Vietnam Wall displayed outside Altoona’s VA Medical Center is a notable destination, even though this holiday isn’t centered only on those who have died during their military service.

And, by all means, don’t forget to discuss the meaning of this national holiday with your children; they eventually will be responsible for helping to carry forward this important observance in the years to come.

Another commendable activity would be to visit one or more of the area’s veterans memorials.

As residents of Blair County observe, and participate in, Veterans Day and its activities, a somber note that will remain in some people’s minds will be the demise last month of the Fire Base Eagle project, which would have established a complex — including a replica field base and history center — associated with America’s involvement in the Vietnam War.

It was a meritorious project that began small and expanded, but couldn’t obtain the financial traction needed to turn that vision into reality.

It’s unfortunate because of all the people it might have attracted to this county from near and afar.

But the project not having achieved reality in no way diminishes what today’s holiday represents.

Veterans Day was observed formerly as Armistice Day, remembering the end of World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect.

Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

Veterans Day survives because America survives. That’s something never to be forgotten, even when there are doubts about the direction that this country is taking.

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