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Go beyond ‘thank you for your service’ this Veterans Day

It’s all too common these days to, upon learning that someone is a military veteran, hollowly repeat the phrase “thank you for your service,” shake his or her hand, and move on. For those who have no close ties to the armed forces, having served in war is often a foreign concept. And the fear of triggering a negative response, or even a flare-up of post-traumatic stress disorder, may keep many from inquiring about said service for which they’re supposedly so thankful.

In honor of Veterans Day this Saturday (Nov. 11), we at the CN&R would like to, first off, express gratitude to the men and women in our backyard as well as those in the rest of the country who have put their lives on the line so that the rest of us can live with the luxuries that we do. Our freedoms, including the freedom of the press that this newspaper relies upon, cannot be taken for granted.

Second, we want to encourage others to engage in conversations with veterans that go beyond the generic, the rehearsed, the regurgitated “thank you for your service.” Ask what branch they served in, what job they did, where they served. Then offer your gratitude.

Third, we recognize the service organizations in our community that work on behalf of veterans and active-duty military. Many are holding special events this Veterans Day (see Calendar listings, page 22). Consider heading out to one of them to express your support and even making a donation to ensure these valuable programs continue.