Say thanks to a veteran

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 11, 2006

There is a flame that burns on a monument in front of Memorial Stadium. The monuments there display the names of local soldiers who were killed while serving in the military.

On Saturday, a ceremony was held at Memorial Stadium honoring those who have given their lives for this country.

Since the end of World War I – or Armistace Day – our nation has set aside Nov. 11 as the time to honor veterans.

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On Friday, many local businesses were closed, and students were out of school.

However, very little time is set aside to actually pay tribute to those who Veterans Day is meant to honor.

And, the numbers of those who we honor are substantial.

Although very few World War I veterans are still living, there are more than 3 million veterans of World War II who are living today.

We also honor veterans of the Korean Conflict, Vietnam, the first Gulf War, and the current War on Terror.

It’s a simple thing, really – to say, “Thank you” to a veteran; place a flag on a grave, or attend a Veterans Day ceremony.

Yet, so few of us take the time to do something so simple.

In World War I, 53,402 soldiers were killed in action.

In World War II, the number of U.S. soldiers killed was 291,557.

In Korea, 33,741 soldiers lost their lives, and in Vietnam, the number of fallen was 47,424.

In the Persian Gulf War, 147 soldiers died; and so far in the War on Terror, more than 2,300 have lost their lives.

Those numbers do not include deaths in conflicts such as Beirut, Somalia and Grenada.

They also do not include the other casualties of war – the wounded, and the families of those who will never see their loved ones again.

To serve one’s country is a noble calling. To give one’s life is the ultimate sacrifice.

A “thank you” is not too much to ask in return.