Nov. 11, Veterans Day, is a national holiday, and it should be.

Some American observances are real national holidays, including paid time off and closed schools: Memorial, Presidents, Independence, Thanksgiving, Martin Luther King, and Labor Day to name a few. Recognizing our veterans as well is the least we can do to honor those who served.

Though QuipTide is nominally a humor column, there are some topics I take seriously. I’m a child (now 67) of two World War II U.S. Marine veterans. My paternal grandmother had four sons in the war. My brother served in Vietnam, my father-in-law in the Coast Guard.

I didn’t enlist in the military, so will yield the floor to others to speak to the qualities of service, bravery and love of country that we celebrate this Thursday.

“Leadership is a two-way street, loyalty up and loyalty down. Respect for one’s superiors; care for one’s crew.”

— Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (Creator of the first computer language to use English words instead of symbols; co-developer of the COBOL programming language.)

“There has been one persistent theme through all Axis propaganda. This theme has been that Americans ... are soft and decadent, that they cannot and will not unite and work and fight. Let them tell that to the Marines!”

— Franklin D. Roosevelt

“A nation that fails to honor its heroes soon will have no heroes to honor.”

— Winston Churchill

“Better to fight for something than live for nothing.”

— Gen. George S. Patton

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!”

— Maya Angelou

“In the beginning of a change the patriot is scarce, and brave, and hated and scorned. When the cause succeeds, the timid join, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.”

— Mark Twain

“Nothing — absolutely nothing — can replace the pride and purpose of being a soldier.”

— Gen. Ann Dunwoody (First female U.S. four-star general.)

“(After the Challenger disaster) some people said, ‘We don’t want to risk astronauts’ lives anymore, we need to stop doing this.’ The astronauts don’t feel that way. We fly for our country, we fly for humanity, we fly for exploration, we fly for a variety of reasons, and we don’t stop flying because we have accidents.”

— Col. Eileen Collins, USAF, Ret. (Space shuttle pilot and commander of two other space shuttle missions.)

“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”

— George Washington

A few years ago, Susy and I were driving through Window Rock, Ariz., capital of the Navajo Nation, on a vacation trip. We stopped for lunch. Two veterans in full uniform were at a nearby table. We told the waiter we were paying for their lunch. They nodded a silent, “Thanks.”

There are nearly 19 million living U.S. veterans today. Take a moment to say a sincere “thank you” to one of them. Maybe pick up his or her lunch tab.

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