THURSDAY IS VETERANS Day. I’ve heard people say they’d like to honor a veteran, but they aren’t sure if they know a veteran.

The American Community Survey estimates that 18 million or 7% of the 260 million Americans more than the age of 18 are veterans.

They are our neighbors, teachers, law enforcement officers, fire and rescue personnel, the person who helps us at our favorite store or our co-worker’s daughter who just got out of the Navy and now works at a high-tech start-up.

Veterans Day is a day of sadness because we set aside a moment of silence to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice to keep us free as we gather to enjoy our sacred freedoms.

Thursday is a day when veterans of all ages stand together for America. It is a day to remind us that the price of war is high and the price of freedom is even higher.

Throughout American history, generation after generation has been inspired by the deeds, valor and sacrifices made by American servicemen and -women who served before them; giants in life and death.

And each year, as the world pauses to remember and honor the sacrifice and accomplishments of the veterans, attention is refocused on a simple, but eloquent thought: Freedom is not free.

Thursday is a day to restore and renew our commitment to stand together for America, and honor those who have helped preserve our freedoms.

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THE MORAL of the following story is know where you are and where you are going in life.

It was passed along to me by Arnie DeLuca of Wheaton, Ill.

A fishing boat was docked in a tiny Mexican fishing village. A tourist, standing on the dock, complimented the local fishermen on the quality of their fish and asked how long it took them to catch the fish.

“Not very long,” they answered in unison.

They were asked “Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?”

The fishermen explained that their small catches were sufficient to meet their needs and those of their families.

The tourists wondered “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

“We sleep late, fish a little, play with our children or grandchildren and take siestas with our wives. In the evenings, we go into the village to see our friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar and sing songs. We have a full life.”

The tourist interrupted, “I have a Master of Business Administration from Harvard and I can help you. You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra money, you can buy a bigger boat.

“Just think, with the extra money and the larger boat, you can buy a second boat and soon, you will have an entire fishing fleet. You can skip selling your fish to a middleman. You can negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant.

“The sky’s the limit. You can leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, Calif., or even New York City, N.Y. From there you could direct your huge new enterprise. That could all happen in 20, perhaps 25 years.”

The fishermen still weren’t impressed.

“That’s when things could get really interesting. When your business gets really big, you can start buying and selling stock, and make millions. You’ll be able to retire, move to a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your grandchildren, catch some fish, take siestas, and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying life with your friends,” said the tourist.

“With all due respect sénor, but that’s exactly what we are doing now. What’s the point of wasting 20 or 25 years?”