Veterans Day rolls around every year and for a 24-hour period — or even less for some — we collectively push our thoughts to those who died serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

There will be fitting ceremonies to mark the day. Bugles will blow, flags will be raised and salutes presented. Then the day will be over.

Yet, even as the last chords of the bugle fade on Veterans Day we all should remember throughout the year the great sacrifice made by those who died for our nation. Those who, in Lincoln’s words, “gave the last full measure of devotion” to this republic.

We cannot mark Veterans Day without understanding and at least considering the great cost war delivers across the nation, from urban households to rural homesteads. Yet, we also cannot ignore the bravery and gallantry of the men and women who died while fighting on some foreign shore.

These great men and women, whom we justly celebrate on Nov. 11, joined to serve for a variety of reasons, including lofty ideals that resonate from the dusty chambers where our founders pounded out the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

These men and women we praise today leave not just a headstone with a notice of their service, but a legacy of what America is supposed to stand for. These fallen warriors created a vast inheritance for the rest of us to enjoy and live up to.

One day perhaps war will not exist. We sure hope so. Until that time, though, there will always be the need to preserve freedom in places across the globe and there will always be a cost and a risk to sustaining democracy. We cannot shrink from that obligation.

So, on Veterans Day, we should remember the sacrifice made by so many for so long so that many of us can enjoy the very freedoms we count on and expect. We must remember that there is no way we can repay those who gave their lives for this great nation. The only feasible method for appreciation is, on this day, to remember, if only for a moment, those who perished while defending freedom. Their sacrifice, their blood and sweat and lives are woven into the blanket of democracy that covers this nation.

Our debt to them will forever remain unpaid.

And we must not forget them.

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