We don’t necessarily need a national holiday to remind us of the importance of veterans.

Or, at least we shouldn’t.

In reality, every day should be veterans day as there’s no denying the value of their service and sacrifice in our everyday lives.

We all know, however, that not all veterans in our midst today have all the benefits they deserve and need.

While many veterans are well-adjusted, having returned home from service to find employment, raise families and carry on with the American way of life, others are struggling and we must keep them in mind as we honor all service men and women on Veterans Day.

It is still the case that some vets struggle with physical or mental health issues, including the prolonged impacts of post-traumatic stress. Other veterans remain unemployed, unable to transition from military service to gainful employment.

Still others are enduring feelings of intense loneliness or despair. Some of them may feel as though their neighbors — their fellow Americans whose freedoms they helped protect — do not appreciate their efforts. In some ways, that can be the saddest condition of all for a person who joined the military because they wanted to serve their country.

There should never be a time in which any veteran of the U.S. military struggles to meet their basic life needs and, yet, we all know there’s no such thing as a perfect world, so these issues persist.

Veterans Day offers time for all of us to reflect on the sacrifices of these individuals and recognize that not all of them are doing as well as they could be and we must, as a society, support any and all efforts to assist veterans in need.

And let us take this opportunity to remind readers that Veterans Day isn’t the same as Memorial Day. A lot of folks out there get this confused. Today we want to honor the living veterans in our midst.

Memorial Day is a time to remember those who gave their lives for our country, particularly in battle or from wounds they suffered in battle. Veterans Day honors all of those who have served the country in war or peace — dead or alive — although it’s largely intended to thank living veterans for their sacrifices.

As a reminder, Veterans Day originally was established to reflect on the heroism of the soldiers who died in defense of our country during World War I. It is celebrated on November 11th to recognize the signing of the Armistice that ended the war. In 1954, the name of the holiday was officially changed in an effort to ensure that all veterans and all service members who participated in wars were recognized.

On this Veterans Day, and all days, let us not forget the simple yet important act of thanking someone for their service in defense of our nation.

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