Record editorial: Veterans are heroes — let’s treat them like it | ParkRecord.com

Record editorial: Veterans are heroes — let’s treat them like it

On Tuesday, people all over the country participated in one of America's most cherished and important traditions. It is apropos, then, that days later, we'll honor the people who've made it possible.

Sunday marks Veterans Day. It is an opportunity to contemplate the men and women who have given much for our democracy, whose devotion to American ideals ensures our basic freedoms like being able to elect our government representatives.

Because they have sacrificed for America, many of their countrymen have never had to. Indeed, their service exemplifies the ideal of putting one's country over one's self. They are patriots who deserve the thanks of a grateful nation.

For many of us, though, it can be easy to take their actions for granted. While nearly every American values what our military members have done, too many of us do too little to show our appreciation. We cheer at sporting events when veterans are introduced, and we attend ceremonies and express thanks on holidays like Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

Those things, of course, are appropriate. And on Sunday, every American should make time in a day filled with football and family to remember the people who have answered our nation's call in times of both peace and war, from the battlefields of Lexington to the sands of Iraq. But our gratitude should not stop there.

Were we a nation that sufficiently honors its veterans, none would return from the terrors of war without the mental health resources to overcome afflictions like post-traumatic stress disorder. None would risk their lives on foreign lands only to end up living on the streets when they return home. None would wonder, even for a moment, whether their fellow Americans noticed the price they paid for their country.

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In Summit County, we are fortunate to call dozens of veterans our neighbors. They are people like Carl Workman, a 94-year-old World War II Army veteran who fought in the Pacific theater, and Air Force Lt. Col. T.J. Eaton, who earned a Distinguished Flying Cross for his courage in the skies above Afghanistan. Both were among among 11 veterans across the state who were honored Friday during a ceremony at the University of Utah, and they personify the valor that springs to mind when we think of our armed forces.

Let's honor them and all veterans by striving toward a future in which all who have served in our military are revered in this country like the heroes they are.

Consider supporting a local nonprofit that serves veterans. The National Ability Center (discovernac.org) provides access to recreation opportunities for injured or disabled service members. Canines with a Cause (canineswithacause.org) pairs veterans with shelter dogs to provide emotional support. The Homeless Veterans Fellowship (homelessveterans.org) is a Utah-based organization that aims to provide a stable living environment and counseling for veterans.