The Daily Illini

Editorial: Thank you, veterans

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Editorial: Thank you, veterans

By The Daily Illini Editorial Board

War is much more than the combat highlighted in pop culture.

We can’t speak much to what it is. None of us on The Daily Illini Editorial Board have served in the armed forces. Yet, serving in any branch of the armed forces is one of the largest commitments any human being can dedicate his or her life to.

The values behind an individual’s service are just a small portion of why we want to say thanks to all veterans.

There’s an unspoken issue in society where, for many, the only thought when hearing “veterans” may be an image of a 1940s man from World War II. But that’s not the case.

We obviously owe our appreciation toward those who sacrificed and fought in World War II, especially considering by 2036, it’s projected that there won’t be any World War II veterans left.

We owe the same respect and adoration to every older man who has fought in the wars of the 20th Century.

But there are also so many men and women of all ages who committed themselves to representing our nation, whether it be in combat or not. Veterans come in all ages, genders or orientations, races, religions and cities.

Either way, all veterans who dedicated their time to protect us need more credit within society today.

As John F. Kennedy once said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

It’s as simple as saying thanks and carrying ourselves with the same dignity that our veterans do.

There’s no cookie cutter image of a veteran. As of September 2014, there were approximately 721,575 veterans in the state of Illinois, the 10th most of any state, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. And many veterans may find it difficult adjusting back to life after their time in the armed services. Rather, many struggle with post traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, mental health issues and poverty — just to name a few effects that can come from serving.

Each one of our veterans deserve praise and thanks. Whether it be your grandparents, parents or a student in your class, this Veteran’s Day is about the individuals that protected, not the other way around.

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