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Veterans Day--it's not about the sales flyers

“It is the soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.”

~Rev. Denis O'Brien, US Marine Corps

Today is Veterans Day. It seems that over recent years, people think of it more as a day when department stores will put out a good sale and that there'll be coupons for Kohl's. In fact, out of curiosity, I Googled "Veterans Day sales."

Would you believe there are over 15 million results? There is even an entire website devoted just to today's sales. Not to get up on my soapbox, but Veterans Day isn't about saving $2 more today at Macy's or 15% on a shirt.

Veterans Day is about veterans.

It is about people like my brother-in-law, Zach. Zach served in the United States Army from 1997 until this summer and is now a Reservist. He served two lengthy tours in Iraq and missed out on so much with his family, particularly his two little boys.

It's about my father's cousin, Peter, also a veteran who has seen his share of war over in the Middle East.

It is about people like Hannah's great grandpa. Hannah is a little girl in Ben's story group at the library. She brought her great grandfather to storytime yesterday. He is a vet, having fought in World War II. We were talking and discussing how important it is for veterans to be remembered.

Veterans Day is about the family members--particularly the spouses, parents, and children of those who are serving and have served. They have made so many sacrifices.

Veterans Day is to pay tribute to those like Army Pfc. Daniel Rivera, a soldier from nearby Victor who died in Iraq a few weeks back. He was 22.

It is about the estimated 292,000 members of the US military who died in World War II (source: US Census Bureau site).

Veterans Day is about the nearly 60,000 members of the US armed forces who died in Vietnam. (source:

It's about the 5,130 of our men and women who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.
(source: Washington Post)

Veterans Day is about the those who lost their lives and saved their fellow citizens at Fort Hood in Texas last week and their loved ones.

It's about all of the brave men and women who have ever served and who are serving today.

If you see a soldier, thank him or her. Not just today, but everyday.

Local Events:

At Irondequoit High School, a new flagpole will be dedicated this morning to honor all alumni who have served in the armed forces. The Irondequoit High School Chorale will also perform. This is a free ceremony and starts at 9:30 at the school on Cooper Road.

Recommended books relevant to Veterans Day for children: