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posted: 6/2/2014 5:01 AM

Thank a veteran before it's too late

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Some post-Memorial Day thoughts: It is too late to thank those who died in the service of their country, but you can still thank their families, who also paid a huge price. Take some time to remember those who helped make it possible for you to not live in fear for your life. They should never be forgotten.

And, even though they did not die, thank a veteran -- yes, I know we do this on Veterans Day -- but thank them anyway. Here's why:

After serving over 19 months in Vietnam I came home in 1968, and I left the Marine Corps a year later after serving four years. Thirty-five years later, I heard someone say to me for the first time: "Thank you for your service."

I was stunned by how much that meant to me. By then, I had long ago adjusted to being an ignored Vietnam veteran. Not that I hid the facts of my service, nor was I ashamed of my efforts. I was proud of all my fellow vets who went when their country called.

So, when I was finally acknowledged, it was sincerely welcomed. Nowadays, there have been so many veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who served incredibly long tours of duty, people finally understand more about what it means to serve and sacrifice and are more open to acknowledging veterans.

Whether they say it or not, be assured that veterans appreciate a "Thank you for your service." And do it today because they may not be here for Veterans Day.

Ray Schomas


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