The year 2018 marks the centennial of the end of World War I. The conclusion of “The War to End All Wars” inspired the commemoration of Armistice Day on Nov. 11. Since then, the day’s honor extended to veterans of later wars, such as WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, and became known as Veterans Day.
A lot has changed in the century following that first commemoration, but the message of that day remains constant: Our veterans were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for us, and we should offer our help to them whenever we can.
On this date, we remember all our veterans, both living and deceased. Their efforts have allowed us to live in freedom. The conflicts the United States has seen in the past century have been tremendously difficult, but our servicemen and women faced each battle with courage and selflessness. Each year since 1918, has brought us a better understanding of the kind of help our veterans need, and the type of assistance we can offer them.
When they return home, many veterans seek employment, housing, medical care, education or counseling. Many organizations within and outside our county help them in their search. Some notable nationwide groups include Veterans of America, American Legion, Catholic War Veterans, Disabled War Veterans, VFW, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Veterans of the Korean War and the Wounded Warriors Program. This year, please consider volunteering with one of the groups. It’s a great way to show your appreciation to those who have served our country.
If you know a local veteran who needs housing, medical help or financial help, Middlesex County’s Office of Veterans Services may be able to assist them. Visit middlesexcountynj.gov and search “Veterans Services” or call 732-745-4051.
The office works closely with federal, state, local and non-profit groups to provide various forms of aid, including the Veterans Housing Assistance Program, which effectively ended veterans’ homelessness in Middlesex County in 2016.
As proud and grateful citizens, we should remember our veterans on Veterans Day and every day. I hope you will attend one of the many services throughout the county on Nov. 11, and that anytime you meet a veteran, you say “Thank you.” When you look into the eyes of these brave men and women, you can see that your appreciation means the world to them.
Ronald G. Rios
Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders