Remembering Veterans on Independence Day

veteran salute

Celebrating the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Fourth of July is marked by picnics, parades and above all, patriotism. And as with any holiday that demands the unfurling of the Stars & Stripes, it’s a great time to remember those who have served the nation.

The United States was borne of civil uprising. At first fighting what was a guerrilla war, rebels battled colonial rule and eventually formed the Continental Army. Seven bitter years of warfare later, a truce was declared, and six years after that, the founding fathers put forth a set of tenets for the country to live by.

Ever since, the nation has been in and out of conflict to guarantee life, liberty and pursuit of happiness on behalf of its own citizens and often, those of far-flung nations. Hundreds of thousands have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the United States, and many of those who returned home relatively intact still bear the less-visible scars of war.

If you see a veteran on the Fourth, stop and thank that person. Express your gratitude for defending the liberties that we so often take for granted. Hand him or her a hot dog, or offer up one of your lawn chairs for the fireworks display. Many still struggle to meet the daily obligations of civilian life, and will appreciate the kindness.

War is hell, and many of today’s surviving veterans suffer from physical disabilities and mental-health issues such as depression and PTSD. And the Vietnam veterans who are lucky enough to have their health and connections in the community are aging fast, and will appreciate recognition of the accomplishments made in their younger days.

As with any long weekend, you can take a day to clean out your closets and contact ClothingDonations.org for a pickup. Donations are tax-deductible and help fund programs that do everything from organizing social outings for veterans to building homes and providing medical care.

They served proudly and unselfishly, without thought for themselves — only the United States, its flag and its freedoms. Thank, honor and salute veterans on the most festive day of the summer; they fought for everything we celebrate.

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