Veterans deserve our thanks

Published 9:50 pm Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Veterans of the United States military didn’t serve just one day a year. They didn’t stay away from their families on deployment just one day a year. They didn’t pick up and move across the country, away from their parents and grandparents and siblings, for just one day a year. And they certainly didn’t risk their lives just one day a year.

So why should we thank them just one day a year?

Of course, we shouldn’t thank them only one day a year. While Veterans Day, Nov. 11, is a special day, we should all be looking for opportunities all year long to say thanks and to serve these noble men and women who have given so much for our country.

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The Suffolk Elks Lodge No. 685 and Suffolk Ruritan Club have taken that mission to heart. For the last four years, they have organized a veterans appreciation event and invited veterans to the Elks Lodge at 329 W. Constance Road to show their appreciation.

“We want them to realize we care about them, and we want to show them everybody appreciates what they’ve done,” Jimmy Franks of the Suffolk Elks Lodge said recently.

Unlike in past years, when attendance was limited to a certain number due to the format, everyone is welcome this year. It will be more family cookout-style, and there’s guaranteed to be great food like hamburgers, hot dogs, barbecue and hand-cut French fries.

There will also be gifts for veterans and active-duty personnel, as well as the Gator Head Band entertaining.

But more importantly, the event will be a celebration of the veterans in attendance and the many years of service they gave to their country.

In another act of recognition for veterans, the two clubs have been raising money the past couple of years for a track chair for a disabled veteran to be able to enjoy outdoor activities.

After searching for an individual to give it to, the clubs finally settled on giving it to the Warrior Retreat at Bull Run, a Prince William County facility that offers free vacations for veterans and their families, complete with outdoor activities.

The clubs are also working to put a memorial bench at the Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery.

We appreciate all veterans of the U.S. military, and we thank the Elks and Ruritans for putting on such a great event.