This Week’s Guest Column from Sen. Will Kraus for the Week of Oct. 31: Celebrating Our Veterans

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On Friday, Nov. 11, grateful Americans will once again join together in celebration of Veterans Day. On this day, we will recognize and give thanks to the brave men and women who have served honorably in the United States Armed Forces, whether during a time of war or peace. We will hit pause on our busy schedules and honor all those who have dedicated their lives to the great cause of protecting our nation, our citizens and, most especially, our freedom.

Originally known as Armistice Day, Veterans Day was first recognized by President Woodrow Wilson in order to commemorate the end of combat in World War I. It was declared a nationwide legal holiday in 1938. Following World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 in order to honor veterans of all American conflicts. Today, it is celebrated as a way to honor and thank all those who have dutifully served our country.

As a state lawmaker and veteran who served overseas in Iraq, creating policies to assist military members and veterans has been a personal priority since my first day in the Legislature. Over the years, it has been my honor to sponsor several successful policies aimed at helping our veterans. One major success was my 2013 legislation, Senate Bill 118, which created veterans treatments courts in Missouri.

Our veterans often face serious difficulties reintegrating into civilian life once they have returned home from their tour of duty. Many of them experience post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Many have also struggled with substance abuse as they attempt to numb the physical and emotional pains of war. During these dark days, our heroes deserve a compassionate and understanding society, not one that turns a blind eye. Veterans treatment courts specifically handle cases involving substance abuse or mental illness of current and former military personnel.

There are many ways you can help our veterans, and no gesture is too small. You can organize a charity drive, volunteer at a veterans home or hospital, or make a holiday card for a veteran. You can donate to veterans by purchasing one of the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ well-known Buddy Poppies, which have been assembled by disabled and needy veterans in VA hospitals since 1924. There are even organizations you can donate pet supplies to in order to help care for the thousands of military dogs that have served alongside our troops. You can also learn more about becoming involved with any number of truly great support organizations, such as Disabled American Veterans, Wounded Warrior Project, the USO and the VFW, which exist for the sole purpose of assisting our current and former service members.

To every service member reading this, thank you for your selflessness, your heroism and the opportunities you have given us. Most importantly, thank you for your sacrifice. May we never take for granted what we have because of you. I hope you all have a safe and blessed Veterans Day.

 Veterans Day Deals

 Many restaurants and retailers offer discounts and free items for veterans on Veterans Day. Most establishments require a military ID or proof of service, and offers vary by location. You can view a list Veterans Day discounts at

Tuesday, Nov. 8, is Election Day

On Tuesday, Nov. 8, millions of Americans will head to the polls to elect the 45th president of the United States. Missourians will also be asked to weigh in on six ballot measures and elect our next governor and a number of congressional, statewide and local offices. I want to encourage all eligible voters in Missouri to cast their ballots. This is an incredibly important election and every vote counts.

For more information about the upcoming election, including where and how to vote and what you will need to bring, visit the secretary of state’s website at Jackson County residents may view a general election sample ballot by clicking here or by visiting the Jackson County Election Board website at