Thank A Veteran

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I’m acknowledging that this could possibly be the worst week in American political history, of my entire existence, but the exact freedom to vote was secured by those who’ve donned the military uniform and defended our country. And to that I say, put your disgusted (or elated) feelings about Nov. 8 aside and celebrate Nov. 11 instead. It’s dedicated to thanking those who’ve served in our nation’s armed services.

Everyone says teach the kids; teach the youth. How about teach everyone? It seems just as many adults need a lesson in being thankful and respectful to those who have served to preserve the freedoms they enjoy.

And while I’m speaking about respect, stand for the national anthem. You may not agree, but you still have to respect. You can have an opinion, but you still have to respect.

Not standing for the anthem says to me you’re blatantly disrespecting the time and effort every veteran and actively serving military person has sacrificed to allow you the cushy freedom of your half-caff double-latte frappa-whatever.

Someone might ask, “Don’t the freedoms you fought to defend include the freedom to not stand?” I say, “Nope. Stand for the anthem, dammit.” Taking a knee is your fix? Really? It’s a cop-out and it says to me that you have no solution; you want someone else to fix it.

Long Island is home to one of the highest veteran populations in the entire country, only narrowly behind Virginia, Florida and California. If you live on Long Island, chances are you know a veteran. This year, this week, I challenge you to actually say the words “thank you” to someone who has served. Try it; you’ll like it and it’ll make you feel like you’ve done good.
Happy Veterans Day to all of my brothers- and sisters-in-arms, especially to my own shipmates. Thank you. I’m proud every single day to have served alongside each of you.

—Christy Hinko, U.S. Navy veteran

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