It’s easy to say, on this day devoted to them, that we should thank military veterans for their service to America.

But it’s not always such an easy thing to do.

Not because veterans are scarce hereabouts.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau about 2,000 veterans live in Baker County — approximately 12% of the county’s population.

But though around one in 10 county residents is a veteran, very few boast of their service. Some, in my experience seeking interviews with veterans, will go to some length to keep hidden their status as a veteran, or at least to act as though it’s insignificant.

The opposite is true, of course.

That many veterans are reticent about discussing their contributions to our country is perhaps not surprising. Serving in the military is by its nature a selfless act.

Then, too, veterans who endured combat sometimes seek to avoid encounters, even conversations with well-meaning people who want only to honor their sacrifices, that recall terrible memories.

Just as veterans have earned our respect for their service, so should we defer to those who, for whatever reason, prefer either anonymity altogether, or at least don’t like to have their military experience highlighted.

And yet, if we have the chance we should try to make sure that all veterans who we have occasion to acknowledge understand that what they have done for us matters.

Today, and every day.

— Jayson Jacoby, Baker City Herald editor

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