Gratitude and thankfulness are central themes of the fall season—Veterans Day just passed, and Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. During this time, it is commonplace to thank veterans for their service and to express our appreciation to close family and friends, but the current pessimistic state of affairs has made these actions all the more important now than they have been in the past.
Veterans Day initially served as a commemoration of World War I’s first anniversary, and it has since become a day for widespread military service appreciation. Because younger generations have never experienced a global conflict to the scale of World War I and World War II, it is easy to neglect this holiday’s significance. This is especially true for younger United States citizens, who live without daily fear of drone strikes, insurgencies or coups, despite the United States’ involvement in overseas conflicts since the beginning of the millennium. However, this stability is made possible by the sacrifice of currently and formerly deployed soldiers.
Now more than ever, it is time to be grateful for the individuals who have protected the privileges we enjoy. Without them, we would likely lack the ability to freely express ourselves as student journalists. Even though we cannot directly see the courage each veteran displays on a daily basis, we ought to be considerate of the sacrifices they make to keep us safe and protected.
Additionally, even though Veterans Day serves as a celebration of military heroes, we should all show our appreciation for other, more localized servicemen and servicewomen, such as firefighters and first responders. Although the responsibilities differ between these groups, they all sacrifice their own safety in a selfless pursuit of the broader public’s well-being.
In light of the many fires terrorizing our communities across California, it is especially important to appreciate the firefighters who work tirelessly to extinguish the flames. Many members of our community are directly affected by the efforts of these individuals, who worked grueling 12-hour shifts, stretched their stations thin and risked everything to protect houses in Brentwood, Malibu, Porter Ranch and other communities. It would be a monumental mistake to gloss over these firefighters’ incredible feats of heroism.
For other communities, there are different first responders who deserve gratitude and recognition: those who respond to hurricanes like the recent ones in Dallas, those who rush into gunfire to protect students during shootings and those who risk their lives to dispose of bombs. This season, let us thank not only our families, friends and loved ones, but also recognize those who risk everything for our safety: the men and women who have chosen a career path dedicated to the security of our communities. These incredible people deserve more than just a holiday.
The sheer patriotism these people display when fighting fires, battling criminals and rescuing individuals is fractionally reported. We should not just acknowledge their feats and acts of bravery when larger news conglomerates report them. We should recognize the integral role that our first responders and military play in keeping our nation stable, and always be sure to express our gratitude, even if it is not Veterans Day.