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As Veterans Day grew into a national holiday, so did my father’s role in it. He was three months old on “Armistice Day” of November 11, 1919, which commemorated the first anniversary of the end of WW I. He was 7 years old when it was declared an annual observance, and 19 years old when it became a national holiday. He was 23 years old when he joined the Army and became one of the people this day honors.

At 11:00 on this 11th day of the 11th month, the nation is asked to pause and honor our servicemen and women. Politicians will be out in full force speaking of their fervor for our military and the service given our country by its men and women. I am happy that acknowledgement is given to such a deserving group of human beings. But these very same speakers will go back to Washington, DC, and stop funds for health care and families of servicemen and women. On the dais, they are the servicemen and women’s false best friend. In their Congressional seats, they are “friendly fire” to our servicemen and women, creating casualties of body, mind and quality of life.

But today is not about politicians or businesses pausing or even the flag flying. It is about you, our veterans, in or out of uniform, who responded to the oath of duty to the best of your ability and with the strongest of courage. It is who to whom salutes are given because they are earned; accolades are bestowed because they are deserved; and love is given because we are grateful.

To millions of people in this country, every day is Veterans’ Day.

To all servicemen and women, thank you for your service. We carry you in our hearts and we salute you with every pledge to our flag, because we know without you, it would be flying free.

Peace to you and yours.