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Our opinion: Today, we honor our veterans

On Nov. 11 each year, we set aside a time to honor our veterans, past and present. We recognize them with parades, special programs, free meals and other means. We should also remember to thank them personally. Reach out and shake a hand, look him/her in the eye and give a sincere “thank you” for their service.
We appreciate the efforts of two local entities that do it up right for veterans each year. Southland Academy’s Lower School students honor veterans with patriotic music, hand-made mementoes, flags flying and drum rolls. American Legion Post 558 holds a veterans program and parade through downtown each year. These are earnest and dignified means of demonstrating appreciation for our veterans, and we all appreciate it and look forward to these events.
Have you ever wondered how many veterans live here in Sumter County at one of the several nursing home facilities? There are many, and some never have a visitor. We encourage you to take the time to reach out to some of these housebound veterans as well. They may not have a way to attend the programs and parades, or they may not have any family, but they still deserve recognition and our appreciation.
Those who serve or have served our country put their own lives in danger for the rest of us. They left hearth and home to travel to foreign lands to fight for the freedoms we enjoy every day. They put their own families and professions and dreams on hold while they did their patriotic duty. Some did not return alive. Others came home injured physically and/or emotionally. Some were taken as prisoners of war, and others are still missing today.
Today we honor our veterans, something we should do each and every day. We offer our sincerest appreciation for all who served and are serving our country, whether in wartime or peacetime. You all make us proud to fellow Americans.