Remember and honor our veterans

They come from all walks of life and all races. They practice different faiths and are representative of all segments of our society, but they all share a common trait — they all have been willing to stand tall and fight to preserve the freedoms enjoyed by all Americans, knowing that protecting that freedom often comes at a great price.

That’s why we want every reader to take a moment today, Veterans Day, to remember all of the men and women who have served and all who continue to serve. It’s the least we can do to thank those who have, for generations, been willing to put their lives on for the United States of America.

Veterans have stood guard in all corners of the globe, and have battled oppression in Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. They have defended democracy and the interests of the United States against those who would destroy our way of life. They have stood against enemies who have been clear, and have been in the forefront in today’s war against terror.

They have served in different ways across the branches of our armed forces — the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard and, in wartime, the Merchant Marine — and have always been willing to do their sworn duty. Some have served a short time, some have made military service their careers.

Residents of our Tri-State Area have always been willing to serve their country. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, as of Sept. 30, 2014, there were 939,069 veterans living in Pennsylvania, 866,481 veterans living in Ohio and 167,355 veterans living in West Virginia. There were 57,784 World War II veterans living in Pennsylvania, 41,778 World War II veterans living in Ohio and 6,892 World War II veterans living in West Virginia.

And, while today is set aside to recognize all veterans, we ask that you also take a moment to remember their brothers and sisters in arms, those fellow servicemen and women who are now at rest forever.

It remains our duty as citizens of the United States to honor those who have served and continue to support those who are now serving. Take a moment to think of them, to thank them, to shake the hand of a veteran and to let him or her know that we are grateful for all that they have done to preserve our freedoms.