Veterans Day, considered a time to reflect on sacrifices made by America's veterans, on Friday marks the first such holiday since the repeal of a policy prohibiting openly gay and lesbian service members in the military.
This Veterans Day, like the nine that preceded it, does not come at a time of peace. We are no longer saying thanks to veterans of wars past such as our grandfathers, uncles or those guys who fly black POW/MIA flags twice a year. Now we are thanking our children, our friends from high school and our younger cousins.
On November 7, Great Falls in Paterson, New Jersey, became the latest addition to the national park family. After a long fight by Paterson residents and officials to have the 77-foot waterfall recognized, their dreams were fulfilled -- partially -- by Monday's agreement. There remain years of work to mold Great Falls around National Park Service standards, but the will, and the funds, can now be brought fully to bear on the project.
The start of the college basketball season is always a big deal, and this year even more so, what with the NBA riding the bench. But this year's first big game will make history, the first ever played on an aircraft carrier.
As we march into another hectic holiday season, past Veterans Day and past the ceremony in which Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta became the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, it is a good time to pause and to reflect on this.
As we prepare to pay tribute this Veterans Day to the courageous men and women who have selflessly served our country, the image of American soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is in our minds. But we also must recognize that many thousands have returned from these wars with severe injuries and permanent disabilities.