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Thanks for your service

It’s that time of year again, when the leaves trickle down from the trees and provide the ultimate crunch beneath our feet. The air has a bit of a bite to it and many of us can smell the smoke from our neighbor’s wood stoves floating in the crisp air. Mother nature is preparing us for the worst she has to offer and many of our thoughts turn to the upcoming rush of the holiday season. But before that, many of us will think of Thanksgiving, where we all give thanks to the Man upstairs for all that we have and for the freedoms we share.

But even prior to that, another important holiday is on the calendar for which we should also be giving thanks. For the aforementioned freedoms we share, we also need to remember Veteran’s Day and give thanks to all our veterans for their sacrifices and service to our nation. I did not serve but have great admiration and respect for those who did in the past and do today. We often seem to look at this important date on our calendars as just another day off, to relax and maybe attend a parade. But it’s considerably more than that. From the early battles of our forefathers to the Iraq War, thousands of our military heroes sacrificed time away from their families with many paying the ultimate sacrifice, to allow us to get up every morning, go to work, buy a house, drive a car, attend whatever religious service we choose, protest a disagreement or express our opinions publicly. Sound mundane? Perhaps it is to us, but it isn’t to many around the world who live in oppression and fear. Try doing any of these things in China, North Korea, Iran, Cuba or Vietnam. I dare say you would be swept off your feet, and not in a loving or romantic fashion.

I can remember as a kid standing on the corner of Main and Pearl Streets in front of Miller’s or Nashua Trust Bank watching a parade of military marchers pass in perfect formation with armored vehicles behind them. I was awestruck watching the mighty cannons and olive drab trucks pass, thinking little about what I was seeing. In hindsight, some of those men may have been doing their last tour and preparing for discharge, some may have been on their way to the horrors of Vietnam preparing to spend their first Christmas away from home and some may have been “lifers’ opting to serve until retirement. Some may have never seen home again.

Whatever their choices, they are all true heroes that we should be honoring and respecting on this sacred day. In November, when we all have the honor of being able to cast a ballot to choose who will represent us in city, state or federal government, we should thank a veteran. When we walk into any church, synagogue or mosque, free to select how we worship, we should thank a veteran.

Whenever we disagree with a government policy and choose to carry a sign on a public street in protest or express an opinion in other ways, we should thank a veteran.

When you do something as simple as take a hot shower, enjoy a hot cup of coffee in the morning, turn on the heat or air conditioning whenever you feel discomfort or kiss your loved one hello or goodbye, remember those who served and still serve, who were, or are not, able to do that. Some very simple tasks we take for granted are simple tasks that those who serve are often not able to do.

So, whenever you see a person in uniform or anyone who served, never feel embarrassed to go up, shake their hand or just say a simple, “Thank you for your service!” You will feel good about it and you most will assuredly make that person not only proud to have served but thankful for your efforts!

A sincere thanks to all veterans for your service! Happy Veteran’s Day!

Don Canney is a freelance writer and professional voice artist. He was born and raised in downtown Nashua with great interest in Nashua history circa 1950-1970. He now resides in Litchfield.