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      Veterans honored at national historic site

      Men and women flanked the Illinois monument at the historic Andersonville National Cemetery on Sunday as a way to honor its memory and pay tribute to the many soldiers who have represented our country / Colby Gallagher


      Men and women flanked the Illinois monument at the historic Andersonville National Cemetery on Sunday as a way to honor its memory and pay tribute to the many soldiers who have represented our country.

      "In the past here at Andersonville we've surprisingly not ever done programs on Veteran's Day for many years. Doing a program about memory and remembering the sacrifices of men held here is an appropriate tribute," said Andersonville National Historic Site's Chief of Interpretation and Education, Eric Leonard.

      Although we should keep our uniformed citizens in our thoughts every day, those present say Veteran's Day is set aside to remember not to take for granted what our veterans have given us.

      "Too often we take what our veterans what our soldiers, living and dead, have done. We disregard it, it's distant, it's remote from us and it really is not. Freedom is not free," said author and historian, Robert Girardi.

      While we have Memorial Day to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, Veteran's Day is a way to thank those courageous men and women who fought for our country that are still among us.

      "The men who died did everything they could, the men who live through a war and survive have only begun what they can do. So it's even more important to honor them for what they've done but then to encourage them to go on and do even greater things," said Girardi.

      Often times one of those greater things is simply going on to live a normal life -- one that soldiers made possible for themselves and many others.

      "The funny thing about veterans is they blend into America at the end of their service. They become common citizens and we don't often think about their service," said Leonard.

      Girardi says we should we should think about it and more by helping groups like the Wounded Warriors Project, buying a "Support Our Troops" sticker or the most simple of all: just saying thank you.

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