Editorial: Every day is Veteran’s Day

Oak Harbor and Coupeville held their Veterans Day ceremonies last week, near the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, which dates back to Armistice Day that ended World War I.

Veterans Day is always a solemn occasion, one that produces pride and tears in the old veterans, their families and supporters. But it should not be viewed as just a one-day event. Veterans of World War II, the greatest war of them all, are passing away daily, and we all should remember to thank them for their service while they are still around. Ask them to tell a war story. Many who haven’t talked about it in years will open up in later life, as the end nears, and tell some shocking tales of survival and inspiration,

Just read the obituary columns in the Whidbey News-Times to see how quickly we are losing our heroic World War II veterans. On Nov. 10, the obituaries told the story of a man who quit an accounting job after Pearl Harbor, joined the Army Air Corps, and guided war plans to and from battle. In the Nov. 6 paper there was a woman who was a legal secretary to the U.S. Military during the Nuremburg War Trials. In the Nov. 11 obituaries were a man who served in Army combat during World War II, another who joined the U.S. Army Air Corps and flew 60 combat missions, another who joined the Navy at age 17 and manned a number of ships during World War II, and another who served his country as a submariner in the Pacific Zone on the Finback.

It a sad fact that we are losing the men and women who served their country so bravely at an alarming rate. We appreciate all veterans, of course, but the World War II vets are going fast. Don’t let them go without telling their stories and hearing one last heart-felt “thank you” from a loving family member, friend or stranger. We owe you our freedom.

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