At a time when our nation's focus is directed inward amidst domestic turmoil surrounding the presidential election, political polarization, and the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, it can be easy to overlook Veterans Day. These days, stories about our armed forces during a time when our foreign military engagement remains low aren't making the headlines.
Nevertheless, the heroic sacrifice of the millions of men and women who have served in our military is the price that has been and must continue to be paid in order to keep our nation "the land of the free." As a veteran of the Marine Corps, I know that it is a price that can be unquestionably high. Every veteran has had to give up precious time with their families, schooling, career opportunities, and so much more. They have dedicated the prime years of their lives to a cause and a calling that is selfless by its very nature -- so that our nation may continue to be a free republic that future generations of Americans can enjoy and prosper in.
As Americans who have had and continue to enjoy such bountiful freedom, we have much to be thankful to our veterans for, and we also have much to pray for. With approximately 18 million veterans currently living, their needs remain great. Many are now elderly and are dealing with difficult physical ailments, while many more must deal with permanent, life-altering injuries from battle. Many are also coping with mental health issues stemming from their years of service in unimaginably intense combat. Today is a perfect day to orient our prayers toward the needs of these heroes in our midst.
So on this Veterans Day, let us not miss the opportunity to take a step back from the noise of our current moment and pause, give thanks for, and pray for our compatriots who selflessly put their lives on the line to defend our nation's freedoms.