Saluting our nation’s veterans

Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Bob Papp joined service members and their families at Arlington Cemetery for the 12th annual Coast Guard Flags Across America event honoring fallen Coast Guard veterans. (Coast Guard photo by PA2 Patrick Kelley)

Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Bob Papp joined service members and their families at Arlington Cemetery for the 12th annual Coast Guard Flags Across America event honoring fallen Coast Guard veterans. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley)

This Thursday, America will honor those who have worn the uniform in service to our country. For millions of Americans, Veterans Day is more than a day off of work. It may be a bittersweet day for those remembering a lost loved one who once served in the military, but it is also a celebration of those citizens who defended our freedoms before going on to accomplish other things in life.

In honor of Veterans Day, we've created a series of social media icons you can upload to your profile. Coast Guard veterans, moms, dads and spouses can click the image above to be taken to the Coast Guard Visual Imagery database to download the icon of their choice. (Coast Guard illustration by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cory Mendenhall)

Coast Guard veterans, moms, dads and spouses can click the image above to to download a social media icon celebrating their service. (U.S. Coast Guard illustration by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cory Mendenhall)

For the Coast Guard, Veterans Day is a day for those who wear the uniform to honor those who went before. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Bob Papp will join members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the President in honoring fallen veterans at Arlington National Cemetery. Coast Guard units across the nation will hold their own events to honor our living veterans and remember those who have crossed the bar.

“Our Nation owes its existence to the generations of Americans who have fought and died, and who continue to fight and die—or suffer physical and mental wounds—defending our freedoms,” said Admiral Papp in an all-hands message to the Coast Guard. “It’s a debt that can’t truly be paid. What we can do—what we must do—is to use this occasion to show our gratitude by honoring their service.”

A child places a flag at the headstone of a Coast Guard veteran at Arlington National Cemetery. (Coast Guard photo by PA2 Patrick Kelley)

A child places a flag at the headstone of a Coast Guard veteran at Arlington National Cemetery. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley)

Here at the Compass, we’ve been honoring our veterans throughout November with a series of stories on Coast Guard heroes whose names will appear on the hulls of the next generation of Fast Response Cutters. We’ll continue the series through Veterans Day and invite you to reflect on the accomplishments of these true American heroes.

There are more than 24 million veterans living in America today. They are our neighbors, family members, and coworkers. They are our teachers, nurses, and coaches.

Find your own way to honor those who have sacrificed to protect each and every one of us. Visit your local veterans’ hospital and thank the wounded for their service. Visit your local cemetery and help preserve the memory of one of our fallen heroes by cleaning his or her headstone and placing an American flag. Run a 10k to support a wounded warrior organization. Or just thank a veteran in your community for their service the next time you see them.

We challenge you to make every day Veterans Day.