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Honoring those who served

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The nation will observe Veterans Day this week, amid what seems to be an increasing movement to honor and respect those who serve and have served in America’s military.

With Central Florida being home to many veterans, in many communities we have the opportunity to get together with other residents to honor these veterans at various events, including the county-wide parade, held this year in Chiefland.

But the tradition of observing and even celebrating Veterans Day has a spotty record in modern America. This is true even though the holiday actually evolved from Armistice Day, an event once deemed too important for the World to ever forget. 

But memories, even terrible ones fade and as the conclusion of World War I was eclipsed by other conflicts, the holiday to honor all veterans was established. Things went well for while, but somewhere late in the last century, Veterans Day seemed to fall out of favor. 

As the stories about problematic Vietnam Vets dried up and there was peaceful prosperity in the 1990s, Veterans Day was relegated to just another holiday for government workers.

Then things changed in the new century with the impact of Sept. 11th, the current wars and returning soldiers, put veterans back in the news and back in our national conscience.

Now with the holiday firmly marked on our calendar it’s a good time to remember just who is being honored. 

Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day is a salute to surviving veterans and as well as those who have passed on. These individuals served their country, whether voluntarily or drafted. They learned to adjust to military life, stuck with it and performed their duty. 

Whether they served during conflicts or peacetime they are part of same fraternity and deserve our respect, admiration and gratitude and we have cause to celebrate. 

Finally we cannot let Veterans Day go by without a salute to its companion holiday on the calendar, the Marine Corps Birthday. 

U.S. Marines – once a Marine always a Marine — all over the world have been celebrating it on Nov. 10 since it was declared a Marine Corps holiday in 1921. Tuesday marks 240 years since the Continental Congress founded the Corps on Nov. 10, 1775.