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Citizens unite in honor of U.S. veterans

After more than a year of an increasingly combative national political campaign, this past Tuesday saw President Barack Obama win re-election to a second term over Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

     That contest was but one battle in a multi-faceted war that continues to rage between Democrats and Republicans, rich and poor, black and white, and even the young and the old. The divisions are so stark that one columnist on this page Friday referred to the U.S. as “two Americas.”

     Today, fortunately, our differences can be set aside as we show our appreciation to members of this nation’s armed services on Veterans Day.

     Because Veterans Day this year falls on a Sunday, several area schools held services Thursday and Friday. Those activities have, in effect, made this more of a Veterans Day weekend than a single holiday.

     Members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Reserve and National Guard put their lives on the lines at home and around the world to protect the freedoms we enjoy here in the United States.

     In the name of service and duty to country, they sacrifice their time at home with families and employment opportunities that could offer more pay and certainly less danger. Those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in their service to country are honored annually on Memorial Day.

     In our observances, we also should be especially mindful of those service men and women who did not die in the line of duty, but who may have lost a limb or contracted some particular illness that continues to affect them. They particularly deserve our support as they live daily with the reminders of their time in the service.

     The reasons behind the deployment of our military service personnel may be cause for debate and disagreement among those of us here at home. Certainly, reports of soldiers’ injuries or deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan, or any hotbed of conflict give us pause to consider why they are there.

     Nevertheless, as the saying goes, they are there so we don’t have to fight here. For that reason, the troops currently in battle and all the veterans who have fought in wars throughout our nation’s history deserve our unified and unconditional support for what they are doing and have done on our behalf.

     Despite our continuing individual differences, our right to disagree is one of the cornucopia of freedoms ensured by our veterans.

     These blessings and those who have preserved them are what we can all remember – and give thanks for – on this Veterans Day.