Sen. Sater’s Capitol Report, for the Week of Nov. 26: Honoring Our Veterans

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Recently, our country celebrated a day honoring the men and women who have served our country in the armed forces – Veterans Day. Veterans Day is celebrated on Nov. 11 of each year to commemorate the signing of the armistice between the Allies and Germany, bringing to a close the most costly war – both in material and lives – to that point, World War I. This armistice took effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. So, the Nov. 11 date is both a commemoration and a symbolic date.

Many of you may have attended ceremonies or watched parades. Young children may have been waving flags, while others looked upon aging men and women wearing uniforms, or younger men and women wearing the physical and emotional toll of war. While a celebration, the day and its meaning is sobering. It’s a reminder of the cost of freedom and how much we owe to those who paid the ultimate price, those who fought and are still with us, and those who are still fighting.

This year’s celebration was especially poignant in that it was the 100th anniversary of the armistice signed in 1918. Many at the time believed it would be the war to end all wars. However, that conflict would be followed by one even more devastating in scope and its effect on humanity and then, after that, a series of conflicts divided the country and left a profound impact on many troops returning home. Those were difficult times for our troops and for our country. It may seem that our country is divided now and that we can agree on very little. That’s one way to look at it, but I’d like to offer another, more hopeful view. When I look at southwest Missouri and see how places like Branson and Mt. Vernon and many others value, respect and honor our veterans, I am reminded that there is so much that unifies us and so much good and honorable about our country. When I look at Missouri and how our state answers the call to defend our country, and how the people of Missouri treat our troops when they return home, I am fortified in the belief that we live in the greatest country on earth.

That leads to the point of this commentary. While we set aside certain days throughout the year (Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Armed Forces Day) to honor or remember those who fight for and protect our country, it is our duty to not just remember the sacrifice of our fellow Americans on a day off work or with a “thank you for your service” utterance a few times a year. It’s our duty to remember our veterans and our active-duty military all year long. It means looking after veterans in our towns and communities. It means honoring their service by keeping the promises we made to them when they answered the call. It means veterans services that are worthy of their sacrifice and policies that help them get to work and meet their health care needs when they return home.

Our veterans have their done their job. Let’s do ours.

As always, I welcome your ideas, questions and concerns about Missouri government. You may contact me at the State Capitol as follows: (573) 751-1480, or by writing to Sen. David Sater, Missouri State Capitol, Room 416, Jefferson City, MO 65101.