This is why every year we celebrate Veterans Day on Nov. 11. It is a national holiday that honors America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. This is also a time to recognize the sacrifices of the families of soldiers and veterans.
America was built on the concept of freedom. That spirit continues to inspire us all. At a time of deep division in this country, the spirit of freedom is one of the few things that brings us together.
Veterans Day and the days surrounding it present a good opportunity to think about what it means to be an American. Millions of men and women have served and sacrificed for our country. Nov. 11 is a time to be grateful for that service.
Here are a few Veterans Day facts:
• Veterans Day started as Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of when the World War I fighting ceased.
• An annual observance of Armistice Day was passed by Congress in 1926.
• Armistice Day became a national holiday in 1938.
• President Dwight Eisenhower changed the name of Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954.
We are in the midst of a new wave of American veterans. In recent years, more than a million of our men and women in uniform, many of them veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq, have completed their military service and returned to civilian life.
It is important to recognize the importance of helping veterans when they return from service. They need health care access, education, housing and employment. Every county in Minnesota, including Ramsey and Washington counties, has veteran service officers who are committed to helping vets adjust to civilian life. See ramseycounty.us/residents/assistance-support/assistance/veterans-assistance and co.washington.mn.us/819/Veterans-Service-Office
Colleges also have outreach programs and clubs for vets. In our area, Century College has a great program for vets returning to college. See century.edu/support-services/veterans-services
Military families of returning veterans also need support. See facebook.com/mn.militaryfamilyassistancecenters/
Serving in the military changes a person. Our tributes will ring hollow if we do not ensure that our veterans receive the care and the job opportunities they have earned. Our veterans have skills. They have learned how to work in teams, how to stay committed to a mission and how to solve problems. They are brave, and they are qualified.
We also have to keep investing in the facilities and the physicians and the staff to make sure that veterans get the care they deserve. That is our obligation.
Communities across America celebrate Veterans Day with parades, ceremonies, acts of goodwill and stories about what it means to fight for America. I encourage everyone to show your gratitude to every man and woman who has served in the military. In honor of our veterans, please support our troops.
Many Minnesota communities have paid tribute to our veterans by erecting parks and memorials. Two years ago, the VFW in White Bear Lake dedicated a veteran’s memorial at VFW Post 1782, 4496 Lake Ave. S. The public is invited to visit.
Mahtomedi has renamed Triangle Park and it is now called Veterans Memorial Park. The Annual Veteran’s Day ceremony sponsored by the American Legion Kramer-Berg Post 507 will be on Nov. 11 at the park at 5 p.m. with the Mahtomedi High School Choir performing (weather permitting).
The Minnesota Orienteering Club will host a “Veterans Day Night-O” event in Mahtomedi in Katherine Abbott Park, 1000 Lincolntown Ave., from 6:15 to 8:30 p.m. A start and finish social will be held at the home of Ian Harding, 24 Bertha Ct., Mahtomedi.
A Veterans Day USA 5K run honoring military service will take place at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 10, at the Peace Officers Memorial site at 12th St. and Cedar Ave. in front of the Minnesota State Capitol.
Many of our schools also have annual celebrations to honor our veterans.
I encourage everyone to seek out places and events in the coming weeks and spend a few moments reflecting on veterans’ service to our country.
As always, please contact me with questions or suggestions regarding any issue. I can be reached by email at email@example.com and by phone at 651-296-6820.