Saturday, November 11, 2006

Truly Honor Our Veterans

Veterans Day, Our Opinion:

It is fitting that Veterans Day occurs just a few days after Election Day. Voting is American citizens' right and duty. It is one way we exercise the sacred freedom that has been won and defended by the men and women who have fought in this nation's wars.

Originally called Armistice Day and commemorating the end of World War I, the holiday became Veterans Day in 1954. It is an occasion to celebrate and honor all U.S. war veterans.

In the five decades since Veterans Day was established, the United States never has gone very long without being engaged in war. Now, when more than 150,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are risking their lives thousands of miles from home in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is especially fitting that the American people honor all who have put themselves in harm's way for their country.

Truly honoring veterans requires more than throwing a nice parade and cheering the uniformed heroes who march by. Besides reminding us all of what war veterans fought for, the proximity of Election Day and Veterans Day should remind members of Congress that a nation's gratitude ought to be in deeds as well as words.

It is the responsibility of elected representatives to stand up for veterans and make sure that the services they need are properly funded. And it is the responsibility of those who cast their ballots to tell their representatives that they expect veterans' services to be accessible and first-rate.

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