I’m not a veteran.
I am, however, the proud grandson of men who served in World War II and in the Korean War. I grew up with an appreciation and admiration for veterans and the many sacrifices they’ve endured to defend the Constitution and preserve our union throughout our nation’s history.
Today’s edition is an extension of that gratitude. It’s about thanking veterans from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces for their service — both during times of war and in peace.
We are thanking veterans — many who were volunteers and many others who were drafted – for leaving their friends and families behind to risk their lives for the United States of America. We are thanking them for helping to preserve the USA even when times haven’t been so perilous.
There are more than 16 million veterans in the United States, of which approximately, 590,000 live in Illinois, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics. Those veterans may have served in peacetime or during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam era, Desert Shield/Desert Storm and the Global War on Terror.
Despite our nation’s gratitude to the men and women who have served this country during those times, we still have too many who are facing lifelong troubles stemming from their service. Too many live in poverty, struggling with homelessness, food insecurity or access to health care. Others struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, or social isolation.
In addition to honoring our military veterans, today’s edition is meant to acknowledge the issues many face and highlight some of the people who are trying to help in various ways.
Today, we will bring you stories of veterans who have successfully started their own businesses. For veterans looking to connect with other veterans, we have listings of local services and social organizations, such as Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts. We also have different events happening around Veterans Day, which is Saturday, Nov. 11.
We’ll also have notes of gratitude written to specific veterans. There are historical pieces about the many Illinois veterans throughout our nation’s history who have stood in the face of the most dire circumstances and shown tremendous courage before paying the ultimate price.
There are stories about veterans helping others try to cope with reentering civilian life. Others are just plain awesome success stories.
We have written more than 130 stories about veterans throughout our Shaw Media footprint in northern Illinois – offering a wide mix of interesting and uplifting stories today. The entire package is available online at shawlocal.com.
We hope you enjoy today’s work. If you are a veteran, or someone who loves a veteran, we hope you are honored by it.
Thank you, veterans.
* Joe Biesk is senior director of content for Shaw Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.