It doesn’t seem terribly far in the past when we could still find a few World War I veterans to interview around this time of year.

But the reality is that we lost the last of the doughboys several years ago, and the youngest of America’s World War II veterans are close to 90 themselves.

News stories about Veterans Day frequently feature men and women whose service to our country ended many years, and in some cases many decades, ago. This is as it should be, of course. Citizens want to honor veterans’ past sacrifices, and media accounts reflect that.

Yet even as we consider how the passage of time severs our personal links to those distant conflicts, we’re reminded that every day soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen continue to protect their fellow Americans.

As we stand before veterans memorials and pay our tributes on Saturday, we want to remember too that hundreds of thousands of veterans are, at that very moment, unable to accept our thanks in person because they’re on duty on our behalf.

From the Baker City Herald editorial board. The board consists of publisher Kari Borgen, editor Jayson Jacoby and reporter Chris Collins.

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