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18.5 million reasons to say thank you

There are 18.5 million veterans of the U.S. armed forces, according the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s 18.5 million reasons to say thank you.

One hundred years ago, the country marked the end of “the war to end all wars.” The next year, 1919, President Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

In Lincoln County, there are several groups working to honor veterans. Several schools also hosted events to honor those who have served in the military. The Lincoln County Veterans Day Celebration was Friday. Attendees wore red in honor of veterans currently on deployment.

About 3,500 Mississippi National Guard Soldiers of the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team — including troops from Monticello and Brookhaven units — are serving in Kuwait in support of Operation Spartan Shield.

A special recognition was given to the late James White, a Brookhaven police officer who died Sept. 29 in the line of duty. White honorably served his country in the Army National Guard in Operation Enduring Freedom.

Flags will also be put out to honor veterans, a symbolic gesture we can all make. These expressions of thanks are meaningful to the men and women who have bravely served our nation. As we celebrate Veterans Day, we encourage everyone to salute a veteran or a member of his or her family.

We offer our thanks to all who have served in the armed forces. America remains a great nation because of you.