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Earlier this week Chaffee County and its municipalities issued proclamations in honor of Veterans Day, celebrated tomorrow, November 11.

If the green lights the county ordered in honor of veterans have arrived in time, the Chaffee Administration Building will be lit with green in honor of our military.

It was a short fifty years ago that veterans returning from Vietnam or serving in active duty were spit upon in airports; some service members would take off their uniforms before arriving home because of the ridicule they received. Those days, thankfully are gone, and our military is receiving the honor and thanks they deserve.

These days, the modern population can get a bit fuzzy about the various days we honor our military:

Veterans Day — always recognized on November 11, honors all those military veterans who have served.

It was initially called Armistice Day, for the moment on the eleventh day of the 11th month at 11:00 a.m. the moment that marked the end of World War I.

It is still remembered in Europe, the scene of the bloodiest battles by the wearing or displaying of red poppies. The poppies that sprung up in the soil of the worse trench warfare of World War I were commemorated in the famous poem titled “In Flanders Field.”

Memorial Day – now celebrated the last Monday in May, is a day to remember all those who have fought in our wars who never made it home, giving their lives for their country.

Armed Forces Day – is celebrated on the third Saturday in May and is the proper day to honor the men and women currently serving. It’s a day selected to honor those American men and women serving on active duty all across the world.

For those not familiar with the poem covered above, and its message, this is the poem:

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
        In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields
If you know a veteran or love a veteran, say thank you on November 11. Their service has guaranteed our freedoms. “Gratitude” is too small a word.