We asked our readers to share with us what Veterans Day means to them. We were overwhelmed with responses.

While reading through them, we began to see themes emerge. One such theme is a deep sense of gratitude for veterans, for their sacrifices, and for how their service has shaped your lives.

Here are your notes of thanks to our veterans.

Kevin E.:

I’d just like to thank the men that I served with for 21 years. All the deployments, and all the training before that! I wish all the veterans all over the world a great Veterans Day! May God Bless You All, and May God Bless Our Military and Our Country! Love you Brothers! 🇺🇸

Mike M.:

To all have served in foreign wars on behalf of the U.S. government: Thanks for your service.

Eric T.:

I come from a family of Veterans. My father fought in WWII and Korea. My oldest brother was involved in the Cuban missile crisis. My middle brother was involved in the Army’s build up in Vietnam and I am proud to have served in Vietnam. God bless every member of our armed services. You deserve the best of everything life has to offer. 

Jeff S.:

I believe in honouring those that serve and have served because they are the truest form of service above self. All generations present and past have earned the right to say, “Lest We Forget” and “We will Always Remember Them All.” So a new year of remembrance begins into a world that is constantly changing, but one truth will survive: Lest We Forget. Take care and be safe.

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Owen S.:

On Veterans Day I always give extra thanks for being here. I think of many comrades over the years and I try to think of only happy adventures. Memorial Day is for the tears. I am retired and I am happy to be able to run, kickbox, and keep moving. I am still an SF soldier in my heart and Veterans Day always motivates me to continue to be the best person I can be. Old sheepdogs still remember what they were taught and I do not want to lose my edge. Keep the fire burning and see you all at sundown.

Claudio F.:

Today more than ever our hearts have to feel the pride and gratitude to all those who served the country.

Desiree D.:

I am the daughter of a man who was mentally, physically, and emotionally the strongest man I have ever known. He was a survivor of the Death March of Bataa. He was old school. He grew up on a farm in San Pablo, Colorado and was a true Patriot. Just as soon as he was able, he joined to fight for our country. Unfortunately, he was captured and sat in a POW camp for three and a half years. He was 80 pounds when he was rescued. His name was Reginald Pacheco. He died in 1990 of complications from diabetes. He was only 68. His doctor said that being malnutritioned for so many years in the POW camp did not help his body to survive to a ripe old age.

When I was growing up, anytime I felt weak or scared or felt like giving up, he’d come right beside me and whisper in my ear, “Don’t you know who you are? You’re my daughter! Now get up, wipe the tears and realize you are a warrior. FIGHT!”

Because of this man, I still hear those words in my ear when I feel overwhelmed. I taught them to my three sons. They now are a force to be reckoned with and formidable opponents. I am blessed to call them my sons and my bodyguards. I believe there are no accidents in life, ony divine assignments and I will finish my course the same way my father did, with boldness and honor.

Thank you to all veterans who boldly and courageously serve and have served. We are a select few. God bless you as we in this family pray every day without fail for every single one of you. God bless America.

Colin G.:

As a young nation, we have always been blessed to have young men and women who have gone forth into the teeth of battle with selfless courage, sure determination, bravery, and with great sacrifice to themselves and their families and for our beloved nation to “fight the good fight.” We pray for all of them. For our past, present, and future warriors of the times ahead. May our Creator watch over them always and forever.

JJ.:

Words will never do justice to the gratitude and admiration I have for those who went before me, and on my behalf did that which I was unable to do. A day set aside for veterans is a day put to good use.

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KeKe:

We love Veterans Day in my family. I grew up in a military family in a military town. My dad was a 20-year Navy man and he and his five brothers all served in WWII. My uncle was a 20-year Marine. This was passed down to us. We love the military in my home.

Thank you veterans for all the sacrifices you and your families have made.

Heather C.:

The dates and name may have changed over the decades, but it remains a day that honors American veterans of all wars. I am an American who has grown to love our country and develop a deep appreciation for all that serve to protect our rights and our freedom. The many sacrifices our military men and women make along with their families will never go unappreciated in my household. As I watch my two sons sleep peacefully in their beds at night, I quietly thank every member of our military. That is what Veterans Day and every day of freedom here in the United States means to me.

Michael S.:

It is a day when we come together and be thankful for those who have served and, in particular, for those who made the ultimate sacrifice, that we might enjoy the freedoms that we cherish. I am a veteran of six years USMC and 21 years USCG.

Dennis S.:

As a Vietnam Combat Veteran it is an opportunity for me to welcome home all the other Vietnam veterans that were ignored for so long, as well as all our heroes that followed us serving this great country!

Karl Z.:

Thank you to all who served!

Veterans Day is an important national holiday, and to me it is vital that we celebrate all who served. I celebrate those closest to me, like my son, my father, uncles, and others who served, as well as all who took the oath to protect this land and the Constitution.

To me, they are the true heroes we must remember. We all have a duty to be true to the ideals of our nation, and those who serve dedicate their lives to that end. It is because of their courage that the rest of us are able to continue to enjoy our rights and freedoms. For all that our veterans have done, I am grateful, and we, as a nation are grateful.

Jerry H.:

Veteran’s Day means a lot to me. I have never served in the military, however, I was raised by a father who was retired Army and a grandfather that served in the Navy in WWII.

I don’t think anyone can truly comprehend what it takes to volunteer for active duty service, especially in times of war. It takes courage and a resolve that most cannot understand. It takes sacrifice, risk, and exposure that most aren’t willing to make, take, or reveal. I will always honor the flag, respect our veterans, and help in any way I can.

The blood of every patriot that has been spilled is not lost on me and I think about it often. I pray daily for our veterans and my little ones do as well. Thanks for what you are doing to help serve and bring honor to your branch, country, and family.

EJ M.:

Veterans Day is special to me because of the dear friends that served. It gives me a chance to thank them specifically for their service. It is also a bit melancholy for me because when I tried to join the Army in ’94 as a guard chaplain I was DQ’ed due to asthma. If I had known that was a barrier I would not have checked that box! Still feel like I owe my country. I am Vietnam era and had decided that if my draft lottery number was low I was going to enlist. They pulled me 356. So I went to college. Perhaps I feel that I owe my country because I did not just go and enlist anyway. Happy Veterans Day to all of you.

Dan T.:

Veteran’s Day keeps alive the spirit of all who have worn or supported the uniform when time is taken to remember the little things that make a big difference to all of us. The spirit of the day shares those moments with those who don’t understand them. It’s a pleasure to have served for those who will never understand what the sacrifice means, a blessing to have served with others who do, and an inspiration for those who contemplate this commitment.

William O.:

One day set aside to appreciate and be thankful for all that served this nation and its people. These people wrote a blank check against their own lives, and would have given them to secure the people they represented. Thank you to each and every one of them! We all owe our freedoms to them.

Doug L.:

I am a Gold star parent. Veterans Day is a day of pride, but also a painful reminder of the loss of my son. August 19th, 2016 was only a month and a half after my son returned home from Ft. Benning, Georgia. Basic and AIT for Scout training. No warning, no clues as far as obvious signs on a change of attitude or emotion. All I know is he was gone in a heartbeat. Sacrifices that these you men and women make, are selfless, thankless, and unrecognized!! Few realize that 22 of our vets a day are lost to suicide.

Trent L.:

As a civilian, Veterans Day means taking the time to say thank you and to do something for those who volunteered to serve this country and have sacrificed so much.

Veterans Day is not about sales on mattresses or TVs. It’s about thanking veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice. It’s about volunteering to help out at a veterans home, drive for the DAV, check in on your veteran neighbor. Take the time to sit down with a veteran or two and just listen. Do some yardwork, the dishes, get their groceries, fold their laundry — especially for the older and disabled veterans. Pay for a veteran’s meal, their gas, their groceries, whatever. Take a moment to honor the veterans that have passed. Help clean veterans’ graves, attend a Veterans Day ceremony. If you are unable to do anything on Veterans Day, simply fly a flag.

We owe so much to our veterans and taking the time one day a year to do or say something is the right thing to do. Why not take it a step further? Try to do something a couple times a month for a veteran. Say thank you whenever you meet a veteran. Whatever you do on Veterans Day, no matter how small the gesture, know that it is appreciated.

Gerard L.T.:

I believe that we stand upon the shoulders of our giants, consisting of previous generations, our parents, grandparents, great grandparents, family, friends, neighbors and all those who came before us.

Veterans Day for me, is a true personal, group, national celebration for all that is positive about the United Sates of America.

Veterans Day is the collective appreciation and celebration of the men and women of the U.S.A. and volunteers from foreign nations who voluntarily joined and served our nation, protecting it 24 x 365 against enemies foreign and domestic, at home and abroad.

Veterans are better off for their personal experience within the U.S. Military, as is the nation far better for their service, whether during war or peacetime.

Jim B.:

Humanity has been defined by conflict, be it caused by religious beliefs, territorial disagreements, or political dogma. In our great country, for the most part, military action has been a response to unwarranted aggression, and most recently extremist terrorism.

The incredible men and women of our armed forces who risk their lives every day training, supporting, and facing these threats deserve our utmost respect and thanks. They preserve our way of life. Period.

Those that have served, those that serve, and those that will one day serve, merit more than one day of recognition. From myself, thank you all, every day.

Kwanza H.

As an American citizen, I know I’m free to envision, grow and personally change, which can ultimately change the world for the betterment of all humankind.

This freedom wasn’t free. Veterans made this so.

Women and men of our armed forces — be they called to duty by a draft, temporarily enlisted voluntarily at a time of international conflict, or career military service people — fought and even died, for us to be able to live and advance causes that matter so deeply. Many made the ultimate sacrifice; all sacrificed. Not just the individuals but their families and friends.

I’m truly humbled by their efforts and proud to be an American where the dreams of my predecessors can be fully reached, because of the glory of everlasting American freedom. Thank you, veterans.