As Americans, we take so much for granted and give little thought to the freedoms we often enjoy. It’s difficult to truly grasp how this luxury isn’t nearly as ubiquitous outside our country’s borders or to how we remain the home of the free amid such a turbulent and divisive time. Veterans Day serves as an excellent reminder of the service and sacrifice made by our brave military veterans to defend our nation and to uphold our way of life.
This year, Veterans Day will be celebrated on Thursday, Nov. 11, honoring all veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces. This annual federal holiday was first issued by President Woodrow Wilson on Nov. 11, 1919, a year after the end of World War I. This holiday was initially intended to solely recognize World War I veterans, but the meaning was later expanded to honor all United States military veterans.
Many of my own family members bravely served in our nation’s Armed Forces, so Veterans Day has always been special to me and my family. I grew up hearing stories from my father who served in France and Germany during WWII as a Medic, eventually rising the rank of Sergeant. My uncle was a part of the third wave of troops to land on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. For me, Veterans Day has continued to be an important personal reminder to reflect on the service and sacrifices of my family, and honor and pay tribute to all the brave men and women who have valiantly served our country.
In August, our nation was dealt a devastating blow when 13 U.S service members courageously lost their lives in Afghanistan supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. This attack marked one of the deadliest days for U.S forces in Afghanistan in the 20 years our troops have occupied its land. This was a dreadful reminder to of the dangers our veterans have willingly subjected themselves to in pursuit of a freer world.
There are a variety of resources available to veterans in Albany County and throughout New York State. I would encourage any veteran in need of support to visit: https://www.albanycounty.com/departments/veterans-service-bureau/online-resources to access a wealth of helpful resources including: food, clothing, housing and financial assistance, employment, education, and training information, and mental health, counseling, and suicide prevention services.
We are forever indebted to the men and women in our armed forces who have served our great nation. If you see a veteran in the coming days or weeks, pay your respects and thank them for all they’ve done for us.
Albany County Legislator