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Mark Veterans Day with respect, reverence

I was perusing syndicated editorial cartoons late last week in search of one to publish Monday to mark Veterans Day. I needed one that depicted the importance and reverence of the holiday — one that showed respect and heartfelt appreciation for those who served our nation selflessly.

As I clicked open the images in a computer file, I came across a cartoon that I contemplated only for a moment, before quickly closing the file. Indeed, it spoke the truth, but it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for.

The artist had drawn an armed soldier wearing camouflage and a helmet, labeled “Defending Freedom.”

Beside him were a well-dressed donkey and elephant — traditional symbols of Democrats and Republicans — labeled “Dividing Americans.”

The caption said simply, “Thank our vets — not our politicians.”

I shook my head as I passed over the cartoon.

Isn’t it sad that probably one of the few things most Americans can agree on these days is that the division between the two major political parties is something we all can do without?

Really, isn’t it these brave men and women who fought for our freedoms that allows Americans to seek and be elected to political office, in a Republic that allows us the right and privilege to go to the polls — like we did this past Tuesday — to cast our ballots for whomever we think is the best candidate?

Sadly, so often after leaders are elected, especially in Washington, the finger pointing and blame game begins.

Isn’t that ongoing criticism by both parties something we should set aside today and Monday, on this holiday weekend?

Especially on a day like Veterans Day we all should recognize that the forces of good shall triumph over the forces of evil. On this day, we should share our gratitude for the contributions of those who have served our country well.

And so, I say today, let’s forget about all the division and strife in Washington, and instead focus together on the activities, services, parades and events that mark this important remembrance.

Parades, ceremonies, services and presentations in many local communities and schools will mark the patriotic holiday. We all should take part.

Student musicians will perform in Austintown Fitch auditorium this afternoon.

In Warren, the Trumbull County Veterans Day parade will step off in downtown Warren at 12:15 p.m. Monday, just after the 11 a.m. Trumbull County Veterans Day Federation ceremony wraps up inside the First Presbyterian Church, 256 Mahoning Ave. NW.

The Veterans Day events all throughout the Mahoning Valley this weekend offer a perfect opportunity to pay homage to our veterans. Here are a few other opportunities: A Veterans Day ceremony will be held 2 p.m. today at Cortland Veterans Memorial; Col. Sharon M. Johnson, commander of the 910th Maintenance Group, Youngstown Air Reserve Station will speak 9 a.m. Monday at Jackson-Milton High School; a Veterans Day observance will be held at 10 a.m. Monday inside the Mahoning County Courthouse, Youngstown; and the Niles American Legion Post 106 will host a ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday in Niles City Cemetery.

But if you do nothing else this weekend to mark Monday’s special holiday, one thing you should do is shake the hand of a veteran and offer a simple thanks for his or her service.

Our veterans have served for us, fought for us and died for us. On this one day dedicated each year to honoring them for their sacrifice, Americans must not forget.

blinert@tribtoday.com

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