OUR VIEW: U.S. Troops deserve our full support

On the heels of another wonderful Veterans Day commemoration, allow us at The Times to be the last to salute our troops – both current and former.

Thank you for your sacrifices.

Thank you for your patriotism.

And most important to our day-to-day operations, thank you for fighting to afford us the right to free and unabridged press via the First Amendment of the Constitution – something that citizens of not all nations can claim.

Veterans Day commemorations were held at many, if not all, of our local schools, and they were all breathtaking in their own rights.

After all, you’d be hard pressed to find a young person in the bayou region who doesn’t have a relative who is either serving or has served America overseas.

And with the recent authorization by President Barack Obama to send 1,500 troops to Iraq – boosting the total number of American troops there to about 3,100 – ceremonies to commemorate Veterans Day will assuredly span far into the future, as they most definitely should.

But just because we here at The Times are the last to salute our heroes on the heels of Veterans Day, that doesn’t mean that we should wait another 365 days to say, “Thank you.”

Our military members surrender so much so that we may remain free, that thanking them should not be a yearly occurrence – it should be a daily one.

If you see a member of our community in the park wearing a hat indicating that he or she is a veteran, take a moment to thank that person for his or her service.

Likewise, if you see an active military member wearing attire that indicates that he is she is currently a member of our armed forces, take a moment to thank that person for his or her service.

Don’t just do that this week – but for the rest of month, this year and for the extended future.

Not only will it make you feel good to emotionally support those who have given themselves physically and emotionally for you, but it could also help validate and vindicate all of the sacrifices those brave souls have made for each and every one of us.

Do it even though one of the greatest traits – of many great traits – of those who serve us is that they do not require that validation and vindication for their service because they know that every breath of fresh air and every step they take exudes from a place of freedom. That alone is enough for the vast majority of them.

And the best part of a great number of our servicemen and women is that they are among the most genuinely great people we know as well.

You’d be hard pressed to find a current or former soldier who wouldn’t help a friend move, take out an elderly neighbor’s trash or help someone in the community with special needs.

It’s that want to serve – in any capacity – that makes these best among us so special.

Let’s turn Veterans Day from a day in which we honor our heroes to one that serves as a yearly reminder to change our daily routine to thank them whenever the opportunity presents itself.

We’ve all seen the difference in sporting events – how just about all of them have patriotic-infused commemorations of our military.

Well, if you’re going to wear your Nicholls red and gray, Saints black and gold or LSU purple and gold away from the stadiums, take your troop-thanking attitude away from them also.

So please join us at The Times by using the first day after Veterans Day not to thank troops for the last time in commemoration of Veterans Day, but for the first time every day for the rest of our lives.