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A tribute to our veterans

By Chris A. Quilpa

Nov. 11 is Veterans Day — the time of year to honor and give thanks to our men and women who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America.

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, World War I formally ended with the signing of armistice between the Allied troops and Germany. Thus, on Nov. 11, each year we commemorate Armistice Day, now known as Veterans Day.

Unlike Memorial Day, which is an annual federal holiday observed nationwide the last Monday of May to honor all of our deceased or fallen service men and women, Veterans Day became an official legal holiday to honor all of our U.S. veterans, living and lost.

To all veterans of war and peace, thank you for all your service and sacrifices. Thank you for all that you do and have done to preserve peace, freedom, liberty and democracy for our country.

On this Veterans Day, we pray: Dear God, bless our veterans and their families, wherever they may be. Protect them, watch over them and keep them safe from harm, wherever they may be. Make them an instrument of your peace, love, justice and charity, wherever they may be. Inspire them to always do your will for our country and for all humanity, wherever they may be.

To our sick, wounded, ill and injured veterans, O Lord, we pray, heal them and make them well, wherever they may be. Give them hope and life, and strengthen their faith, resolve and positivity, wherever they may be.

And to our beloved veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice, Almighty Father, grant unto them eternal rest, and let perpetual light shine upon them. All of these, we ask through Jesus Christ, your Son and our Savior, who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

Here’s a poetic tribute to our veterans:

“Valiant Veterans���

Valiant veterans/ Of yesterday and today/ Who fought for freedom/ Peace and prosperity/ Life and liberty/ Who served proudly with dignity/ Yet, survived and succeeded/ To win victory for our country/ For the whole humanity/ We’re so proud of you!

You served and volunteered/ To protect and to defend/ Our nation, our Constitution/ Our people and our world/ With so much love/ Pride and patriotism/ Valor and vigilance/ And you survived/ The scars and scourge/ The atrocities and bitterness/ Of war big or small/ In Vietnam and Korea/ Grenada and Panama/ In the Middles East/ And other crises/ National and international

The experiences and memories/ In those battlefields, / Concentration camps/ And war zones/ And of our beloved ones…/ They can never be forgotten/ For as long as you live, /For as long as memories linger/ On and on, now and forever/ Valiant veterans/ Hailed and honored/ Revered and respected/ Recognized and remembered/ Today, always, and forever.

On this very special day/ A memorable Veterans Day/ We salute you/ And sincerely thank you/ Veterans of all times / For your courage and dedication/ Love of service and devotion/ To our people and our nation. / We proudly honor you/ The unsung heroes of war and peace/ Of the past and the present/ The ideal and inspiration/ For all generations to come!

“Gone But Not Forgotten…”

Like us, you had dreams/ Lofty goals and ambitions/ Visions and missions/ For a better life-world.

You volunteered to serve/ To protect and to defend/ Our freedom and our liberty/ Our nation and the Constitution/ With hope and honor/ Pride and power/ Valor and vigilance/ Without fear and reservation./ You endured the pain/ Sun, wind, snow, and rain/ And you enjoyed the game/ Of love, life, and fame./

You endured the agony/ Of a war-torn country;/You suffered tremendously/ To the end you left us everything / But images and memories/ Dusty ribbons and uniforms/ Faded jeans and shirts/ Letters and photographs/ All to cherish and treasure.

Gone, but not forgotten/ You, our unsung heroes/ Of war and peace/ Our inspiration in life/ Today, yesterday and tomorrow!

Chris A. Quilpa is a retired U.S. Navy veteran and lives in Suffolk. Email him at chris.a.quilpa@gmail.com.