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Troops’ sacrifice deserves more than a day

Even as the National Veterans Day Ceremony was held on Wednesday at Arlington — and last Saturday atop Mount Soledad — men and women are dying to keep us free.

Originally known as Armistice Day and celebrating the cause of world peace, Nov. 11 has since become a day to remember all those who fought or are fighting the battles of our nation. It’s not a tribute to the wars they’ve fought and are fighting, but rather a tribute to those who serve.

The Department of Veterans Affairs calls it “a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”

Some take the day to go to ceremonies to call attention to veterans, others visit gravesites to remember loved ones and some share their stories in our classrooms. Some write poems or songs to remind us or to ease the pain.

Every year at this time we are reminded that as each day passes we are losing our older vets. But we should think about that each day. Veterans deserve more than one day of honor — it should be a daily salute to their service and courage.

Each day we should stop to say “Thank you for your service,” not just to those who served in World War I or II while we still can, but to all of those who serve in the Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, National Guard or reserves.

The tragedy at Fort Hood last week serves as a reminder that these men and women face danger every day, wherever they train and serve.

They do more than put their lives on the line. They give up time with their families to go to places where they are not always wanted; many put off their education or take it with them so our armed forces are better prepared.

Their paychecks don’t make up for what they give us. The least we can do is say thanks.