Veterans, families deserve nation’s heart-felt gratitude

Thank you, veterans.
That simple, heartfelt message rings throughout America this week as we honor the men and women who are now serving our nation, as well as all those who have ever worn the uniform on our behalf. We, as a nation, simply can’t thank you enough for the sacrifices you and your families have made.
Respect and admiration for our troops, past and present, has grown noticeably stronger in recent years. Whether you are at a sporting event, community parade or small family gathering, when veterans are recognized there is a sincere sense of oneness in the air. It’s a powerful emotion, as it should be, reminding us all that we are proud to be Americans.
Programs like Heroes & Huskies are helping spread that sense of respect and appreciation to a younger generation, which is wonderful to see. That program is completing its third chapter now and each time you can tell patriotism grew in our community through new relationships between Aurora High School students and their veteran partners. Here’s hoping other schools around the state and nation follow that model.
Veterans Day stirs a heightened sense of that patriotic gratitude, a humble feeling that makes you want to shake the hand of any veterans you encounter. They all have stories to tell, some still being written, including intense, life-and-death scenarios the likes of which most of us can’t even imagine.
It’s hard for some to share those stories, even years after they put their weapons down. That’s understandable. What’s important is that veterans know their service is appreciated, whether they were on the front lines of battle or stateside handling whatever responsibilities they were given. Regardless of the role, all served their nation and made personal sacrifices. We owe them a genuine salute, and an ear if they have the time and desire to share their service memories.
Families deserve time in the spotlight as well this week. When troops are away, either training or in harm’s way, there is someone back home missing them, praying for them, hoping for their safe return. Their sacrifice is every bit as real and meaningful as that of those who wear the uniform.
Locally, patriotic service has a familiar face, worn by many of our friends, neighbors and relatives. Many of those faces are featured in a special News-Register tribute in this week’s edition. We tip our hat to those veterans, representing several generations of service, as well as many others not mentioned.
We salute you, honor you and celebrate with you the freedom that your sacrifice and service have helped endure.
Kurt Johnson

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