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World War I ended in 1918 at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, the 11th hour of the 11th day in the 11th month of the year. On Nov. 11, 1919 President Woodrow Wilson began the tradition of remembrance, which formally became Veterans Day in 1954.

I want to express my profound thanks to the veterans of Napa County on this special day.

It’s actually surprising how many veterans don’t think of themselves as such. A veteran is an individual who served in the armed forces, and that includes Merchant Mariners who served during World War II.

Veterans are really pretty amazing people. They gave up years of their lives to serve their country. They helped protect our country, and the ideals we cherish – freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, freedom of the press and the freedom to decide our religious beliefs or lack thereof, to name a few.

They stood firm against tyranny on foreign shores, showing and sharing their spirit, their friendship and their courage.

Veterans selflessly gave of themselves to help people throughout the world to be able to live as they choose, without oppression.

Veterans withstood many hardships. They were separated for long periods of time from their families and friends. They often lived in rough conditions, sometimes in absolute terror for their lives and the lives of their comrades.

But all veterans deserve our respect and appreciation, regardless of when or where they served, in peace or in war. Every one of them wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America' for an amount up to and including "my life."

I have great admiration for veterans. I urge all of you today to reflect on the many contributions veterans made to our community, our country and our world. Today, and indeed every day, thank a veteran for his or her service.

Patrick J. Jolly

Napa County Veterans Service Officer