By Chuck Marra
As Veterans Day approaches, the sacrifice of those who served our nation is at the forefront of our minds. There are almost 100,000 veterans currently residing in Western New York, with more slated to come home in the coming year.
They reside alongside us, navigating the transition from military to civilian life.
They are our mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, friends and colleagues. They served for us and protected our freedom, and now it’s our turn to serve and protect them.
From the very beginning of this great nation, we’ve had a proud history and tradition of citizen warriors. Our first warriors fought for only an idea of freedom, and as history unfolded, each generation proudly and selflessly served to keep that freedom alive. We owe them so much!
I ask that you remember our veterans every day throughout the year. Remember the loved ones they had to leave behind, remember the overwhelming conditions they lived in while serving and the long days and nights filled with what we civilians cannot begin to understand.
Remember the families that went long periods of times without seeing their loved ones, constantly worrying and wondering. Remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and never came home. Remember all of them.
The Veterans One-stop Center of Western New York sees the significant need in our community to empower and honor the men and women who wore the uniform.
The Veterans One-stop Center, located on Main Street in Buffalo, has served more than 11,700 veterans and their families, helping them make the transition from military to civilian life.
We recognize and see first-hand the important need to support our service men and women and the struggles they face as they return to civilian life.
There are so many ways you can honor the veteran community throughout the year. Give your time, lend a helping hand, share kind words, and make donations in tribute of the veterans you’ve had the honor of knowing.
Veterans Day is a day to remind us all of the enormous debt of gratitude we owe to all service men and women.
It is also a reminder that every single day we should continue to think of and be thankful for those who served for us.
So on Monday, keep veterans in the forefront of your thoughts and honor them with your ability to live and move freely in the United States of America because of their sacrifice.
Make time in your day to think about their service and dedication, and carry today’s thoughtful words and actions toward veterans throughout all of your days.
Chuck Marra is president and CEO of the Veterans One-stop Center of WNY.