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Veterans Day: Who are veterans?

Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo DENISE FORMOLO, DICKINSON COUNTY Veterans Service Officer, took part in a program on veterans benefits Thursday at Bay College West, coordinated by the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain. At left is Brad Nelson, public affairs officer at Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center.

Veterans Day is a federal holiday here in the United States in which we honor our living veterans. Nov. 11 is the day we honor them because World War | formally ended at the 11th hour of Nov. 11, 1919.

In 1926, Congress passed a resolution for an annual observance and Nov. 11 became a national holiday in 1938.

Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans — but especially gives thanks to the living veterans who served our country honorably during periods of peacetime and wartime.

Here in Dickinson County, we have more than 3,500 veterans living among us. This means that about 14% of all citizens in Dickinson County are veterans. They include veterans who served from World War II through the Gulf War. This does not include the ever-changing number of veterans who come to our community for services at the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center.

The veteran population today in the United States totals more than 19 million men and women. They served active duty in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

These veterans come from all walks of life and every big city, small town and rural area in the United States. They are from every nationality, race and religion. Each one of them had one thought in mind when they signed on that dotted line and swore their oath to our country: “I will give my all to protect our nation and the freedoms we have as a nation.”

Whether it was on the beaches of Normandy, the mountains of northern Burma, in Da Nang, on Hamburger Hill, the jungles and rice paddies in Vietnam — maybe it was the deserts of Iraq or Kuwait or the mountains of Afghanistan — they would do what was needed for the nation they loved.

For this, we thank for them for their service.

Let us not forget the veterans who also served during our periods of peacetime. Although these veterans did not have to fight in a war, they were ready, willing and able to come to the defense of our nation should they be called upon. They trained as hard as any other soldier.

These veterans were deployed to South Korea to patrol the DMZ, they served in Germany during the Cold War and were at ground zero should the Soviets decide to drop the bomb.

Peacetime veterans serve all over the world from the Coast of Africa to the shores of the former Yugoslavia in peacekeeping missions.

For this, we thank them for their service.

Denise Formolo has worked in the Dickinson County Office of Veterans Affairs since 2018. The office mainly helping veterans in understanding and securing federal benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office, by initiating or reopening claims. The Office of Veterans Affairs, at 800 Crystal Lake Blvd. in Iron Mountain, is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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