November 11 is Veterans Day, a day our nation sets aside each year to recognize and thank all those, living and dead, who have answered the patriotic call to serve in the United States Armed Forces, whether during a time of war or peace. Our veterans have proudly, courageously and selflessly defended our nation and protected our citizens, and we are all indebted to them.
Missouri is home to a number of major military installations, including Whiteman Air Force Base and its 509th Bomb Wing, the only Air Force unit that operates the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber, and the United States Army Maneuver Support Center at Ft. Leonard Wood. We are also fortunate to have a Missouri National Guard force of approximately 11,000 citizen-soldiers and airmen, some of whom are stationed at Rosecrans Air National Guard, which is critical to our region in northwest Missouri. We clearly have a lot to be thankful for this Veterans Day, and every day.
According to the Missouri Veterans Commission, an estimated 384,000 veterans currently live in the Show-Me State — that is nearly half a million reasons why each and every Missourian should find some meaningful way to honor our veterans. This Veterans Day, I encourage you to show your support by donating to a veteran’s organization, volunteering at a veterans home or hospital, or simply taking the time to stop and thank a veteran for their service and sacrifice.
Many restaurants and retailers offer discounts and free items for veterans on Veterans Day. Most establishments require a military ID or proof of service, and offers vary by location.
Each of us owe so much to those who have put their lives on the line for our country. The freedoms we enjoy and our way of life as Americans are due to the brave actions of those who served and those who continue to serve. As civilians, we will never know the hardships and challenges faced by our country’s men and women in uniform. Our country’s veterans were there for us, in times of war and in peace, and it’s now up to each of us to have their backs and support them in any way possible.
As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is 573-751-1415, my email is email@example.com and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.
Dan Hegeman is the 12th District State Senator.