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Honoring those who served
While Memorial Day honors those who gave their lives in military service, Veterans Day commemorates and recognizes the personal sacrifices made by anyone who wears, or has worn, the uniform. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Miguel Lara III)
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Veterans, thank you for your service

Posted 11/9/2011   Updated 11/9/2011 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Yash Rojas
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

11/9/2011 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- -- November 11 commemorates the contributions of the men and women in uniform for keeping their oath -- to defend and protect this nation.

Veterans Day offers a time each year for everyone to offer thanks to veterans, and for servicemembers to reflect on their service to the nation.

"[It is a time to remember] those who have served and died defending freedom in past and present wars," said Senior Master Sgt. Todd Foulk, 354th Medical Group first sergeant.

It is important to recognize those who have helped defend this nation and others in their time of need. Veterans of the past, present and future must be recognized on this important day, said Edward Constantine, 354th Force Support Squadron civilian personnel officer.

It is often said that actions speak louder than words. This is especially true for those who have answered the call to arms in times of war, giving so much and expecting so little in return.
"I believe [veterans] really do appreciate that they are thought of and thanked...," said Foulk. "Anytime someone thanks me for my service I usually say it is my pleasure and tell them how much I have enjoyed serving our country."

While veterans may not always want the extra attention, acknowledging their past endeavors is automatic for some individuals.

"[As a veteran, I make it a point] to say thank you anyway and it comes from the heart," added Constantine.

The federal holiday also offers everyone an opportunity to express their sympathy by praying for peace and justice, ultimately hoping for a future free of war and conflict, said Foulk.

While not everyone is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, all can respect the servicemembers who are far away from their families and the comforts of home.
"I believe the American public supports not only the actions of a few, but of all those who serve," said Foulk. "In a lot of communities around our nation there is a Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airman they know serving our country."

With the community there to support veterans and their military, mutual respect exists. Furthermore, those currently serving have been inspired and follow in veterans' footsteps.

By setting the example and putting service before self, veterans have paved the way for later generations of servicemembers, said Constantine.

"My brother spent some time in Landstuhl, Germany, at a hospital on his way back from the desert," said Constantine. "My brother's roommate, who had suffered severe wounds from clearing a minefield at night with a bayonet, told my brother he wanted to go back and finish the job. He and his buddies were making a difference in the lives of the Iraqi people. His roommate had no concern for himself, only his fellow man. This level of dedication is present in so many [military members] today. Tour after tour they go back to make a difference."

"After all veterans have given and continue to give, how can we not say thank you," he added.

Each year, the nation honors those who have to put themselves in harm's way to defend the American way of life. This day celebrates real heroes and their sacrifices.

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