By Edgar Brookins, Special to the AFRO

November 11 is the day we set aside each year to honor those who have served proudly in the United States Armed Forces, and yet continue to serve in the defense of this Nation. 

Words like dedicated, brave, patriotic, self-sacrificing, honorable are just a few of the words that attempt to describe the men and women who chose to put on the uniform of freedom to keep our democracy safe; they believed in something greater than themselves…a willingness to serve others. 

Edgar Brookins as a young private when he first enlisted in the Army in 1969.

If you’ve ever ventured into a gathering of local veterans, the conversation almost always is about when “I” served and some of my heroic deeds of which I received a commendation medal for.  

Yes, the joshing around brings back good memories of when I wore my uniform proudly.  

According to the latest numbers from the Veterans Administration (VA), there are over 20 million veterans in the United States, and the VA serves about nine million. 

Our veterans add such a favorable ingredient to the makeup of the United States population. Everyday they are making contributions to our communities- even  if sometimes it’s just down the street at Starbucks or McDonald’s sipping coffee with a senior citizen’s discounted breakfast…YAHOO! So always, when you encounter a veteran or an active duty service member, render them the courtesy of saying, “thank you for your service.” 

Across the USA on Nov. 11, there will numerous parades, ceremonies and other public events to celebrate our veterans and their achievements. Let’s seek out these events in our communities and go out and participate and salute our Veterans.

Edgar Brookins is a veteran and retired General Manager for the AFRO Washington, D.C. office.