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I like and respect veterans, but I’m not always too fond of Veterans Day. The parades and speeches on Monday were proud and patriotic; but, for me, there’s always the sadness attached to our attempts to honor all those who have worn the military uniforms of the United States of America.

But, of course, all of them can’t be there. I admire the living veterans, but I can’t forget the dead. My god! So many dead! And, I don’t want to just think of them as rows of crosses on memorial day.

Technically, I’m a veteran with two years in the Army and one in the Air Force. I’m more comfortable with the title serviceman. To me, veterans are those who were called to protect people from an enemy. The only hostility I faced was from an occasional bad audience, and the only service injury I might have suffered would be a twisted ankle during a dance routine. I was in special services doing shows for the troops, and I was honored to do so.

Outside my supermarket over the weekend, there was an older man collecting money for the veterans, like himself, of the Korean War. I thanked him, just as I thank all the rest of you, not just for serving, but for making my life possible and for the freedom to say these words.

I’m Pat McMahon.