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Reach Out on Veterans Day
By Rep. Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz)
Friday, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day across our nation. It is a time when we reflect on the sacrifice our fellow Americans have made on our behalf and we seek them out to say “thank you” for their service.

Some of our veterans are easy to recognize. They wear uniforms, medals, and ribbons. Most veterans, however, live among us quietly and anonymously. They are America’s own sons and daughters. Let’s consider for a moment the question, “Who is a veteran?”
A veteran is an elderly gentleman sitting on a park bench, who helped liberate a Nazi concentration camp.

A veteran is the grizzled service station mechanic, who showed extraordinary courage at the 38th parallel.

A veteran is the nurse taking care of newborns in a hospital nursery, who once bandaged burned and bloody limbs at DaNang.

A veteran is a prisoner of war, who once returned home to face a culture he didn’t recognize and now finds himself able at last to tell his story to his adult children.

A veteran is a police officer driving her patrol car through the neighborhood, who spent a year in Iraq or Afghanistan making sure HUMVEES didn’t run out of fuel.

And, the other day, a friend of mine was at his local sporting club, and as he was packing up to leave, a young man in his early 20s showed up to sight-in his rifle. An older gentleman began talking to him and found out he had just finished his tour with the Marine Corps and thanked him for his service. That is America – a 73-year-old man thanking a 20-year-old for keeping our nation safe.

On Veterans Day, we honor all people who served in our Armed Forces. But those of us here today have come to pay special tribute to our military veterans. They stand proudly in the timeline of history. Many war heroes and visionary military leaders stand in this line of selfless service. Some bear visible signs of their bravery and service – a missing limb, a jagged scar. Others carry inner signs – a pin holding a bone together; a piece of shrapnel in the leg. Perhaps the steel inside is part of a soldier’s character, a soul forged and shaped by battle.

Today, we offer special recognition to veterans who faced the horrors of war, and especially those who gave up their lives in service to the nation. They and their families deserve our highest praise and eternal gratitude. We remember and salute all fallen heroes today and thank their families for their ultimate sacrifice.
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