AHS NJROTC Veterans Day 14.jpg (copy)

Members of the Aiken High School NJROTC program held a service honoring veterans on Friday. Aiken's Veterans Day ceremony will be held today at 10 a.m.; North Augusta's ceremony will be at 11 a.m.

Veterans Day is observed today, and we should all take a moment to pay tribute to the brave men and women who have served our country.

First known as Armistice Day, the holiday’s original intent was to honor the end of World War I. After World War II and the Korean War, Congress changed the name in 1954 to Veterans Day to honor veterans of all wars.

Today, though, is far more than just a day off or the end of a three-day holiday weekend for some. It’s a day “set aside to thank and honor living veterans who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime,” according to military.com.

There’s a number of ways you can do that:

• Plan to attend a ceremony. Plenty of events have already been held in recent days by local schools and community groups, but there are more planned for today. Aiken’s event is set for 11 a.m. at Aiken County Memorial Park on Richland Avenue, and North Augusta’s is set for 11 a.m. at Wade Hampton Park on Georgia Avenue. 

•  Several local restaurants are offering meal discounts or special promotions for veterans. The Aiken Standard has published a list of those who are offering deals.

•  Simply say thanks the next time you see a veteran, whether it’s out shopping, at work or school, or at church. They will appreciate it.

Veterans Day also signals the beginning of “National Veterans Awareness Week,” which aims to educate school children about the contributions and sacrifices made by veterans. There are a number of issues facing veterans, from benefits to healthcare to adjusting to life after service.

Sadly, one of the main issues facing our veterans is the threat of suicide. See the accompanying guest column on this page for more information on this important topic.

Take time out to honor veterans today. But once the ceremonies and discounts are over, don’t forget them. Make every day special for those who served.