Honoring Our Men and Women of The Armed Forces

A Column from the Desk of Assemblyman Karl Brabenec (R,C-Deerpark)

This past weekend, Americans worldwide honored our men and women who served with Veterans Day. I, myself, consider Veterans Day to be very important, not only because my father was a Navy veteran and the day gives me an opportunity to remember him intentionally but because it is also a day when we come together as a nation to pay tribute to those who gave so much so we can all enjoy what we love. Veterans Day is not just another date on the calendar; it is a reminder of the profound debt of gratitude we owe to those who have defended our freedoms and protected our way of life.

I had the distinct pleasure of celebrating with our veteran communities this past weekend, as my team and I attended events such as the Veteran’s Day ceremonies in Port Jervis, Warwick and Suffern, all wonderful tributes to the veterans of our country. We also stopped by the Greenville VFW facility for a special “Spaghetti Dinner for Veterans,” as a means of fundraising for our community’s veterans and for feeding them.

But the importance of Veterans Day goes beyond the traditions and the observances. It serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by our veterans. These individuals put their lives on the line, leaving behind the comforts of home and family to safeguard our nation. They endure the hardships of service, often facing danger, physical and emotional traumas and the toll of time spent far from loved ones. On Veterans Day, we acknowledge these sacrifices and express our deep appreciation.

This day is also an opportunity for us to reflect on the value of freedom. Our veterans are the embodiment of the principles our nation was founded upon: liberty, democracy and justice. They have defended these ideals in times of war and peace, and their dedication is a shining example for all of us. Veterans Day reinforces the notion that our freedoms are not free. They come at a cost; a cost paid by our veterans.

Furthermore, Veterans Day has a unifying power. Regardless of our political beliefs, backgrounds or differences, we can all stand together in gratitude for the service of our veterans. This shared appreciation transcends divisions and brings our nation together, reminding us that, at our core, we are one people with a common destiny.

In a world that sometimes seems divided, Veterans Day is a beacon of unity, a day when we set aside our differences to honor the heroes who have protected our nation. It is a day of gratitude, reflection and unity, and its importance cannot be overstated. Let us never forget the sacrifices of our veterans and let us always hold their service close to our hearts, not just on Nov. 11 but every day.