Our veterans deserving of thanks

Today, Veterans Day 2016, is a day that is set aside to call attention to the valor and service of American armed services personnel.

The day offers an opportunity to remember our living servicemen and women, who deserve our gratitude while they are still alive, as well as a chance to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while unselfishly answering the call to defend our nation.

Our annual remembrance began as a way to commemorate the armistice that ended World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11 month of 1918. Armistice Day was first declared by Congress in 1926 and recognized as a holiday in 1938. After World War II, President Eisenhower signed the bill declaring Nov. 11 as Veterans Day in 1954.

Veterans come from all walks of life and represent all races, and they practice different faiths. But they all share the willingness to stand tall and fight to preserve the freedoms enjoyed by all Americans.

They have stood guard in all parts of the globe and have battled oppression in Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Their efforts have helped to keep the world free of tyrants who would impose their rule over others, from Hitler to bin Laden, from al-Qaida to the Taliban to ISIS.

They’ve also been willing to help others in areas that have been hit with disease or natural disasters, knowing that to millions of people around the world the uniform they wear, whether that of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard or, in the time of war, the Merchant Marine, represents strength and compassion and all that is great about the United States of America.

Residents of the Tri-State Area always have been willing to answer the call when their nation has asked. According to the latest information released by the Department of Veterans Affairs, as of Sept. 30, 2014, there were 934,069 veterans living in Pennsylvania, 866,481 living in Ohio and 167,355 living in West Virginia.

We ask that you pause and remember today, and vow to do all that you can to support veterans and those who are serving. Take a moment to remember them and to thank them. We hope that you’ll shake the hand of a veteran or an active serviceman or servicewoman.

By doing so, you’ll be saying thank you and letting them know we are grateful for all that they have done and will continue to do.