SUNDAY, NOV. 11, 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.

Veterans are our neighbors. They are our teachers, law enforcement officers, the person who helps us at our favorite store, the elder at our church or she could be our coworker’s daughter who just got out of the Navy and now works at a high-tech firm.

Since 1776, 48 million Americans have served in the armed forces. By remembering their souls and their families on this day, we acknowledge their sacrifices.

Veterans Day 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 always been inspired by the deeds, the valor and the sacrifices made by American servicemen and servicewomen who served before them, giants in life and death.

Veterans Day also 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 and safe as we gather to enjoy our sacred freedoms.

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.

Veterans Day is a day to restore and renew our commitment to stand together for America, and honor those who have helped preserve our freedoms. We are reminded that more than 83,000 veterans are still listed as missing.

As we pause to salute our veterans, isn’t it about time our divided country makes a commitment to find common ground and set aside our differences. We have much more in common than we are willing to admit. We must remember, we all bleed red, white and blue.

We hear people say they vote straight party line, Republican or Democrat. Our elected leaders make matters worse by legislating in lockstep with their party’s ideology without regard to thoughts of compromise. This stubbornness just prolongs the animosity and division.

The discord we are experiencing is tearing us apart as a united nation. The solutions to these divisions start with each of us. Use this opportunity to forgive and forget a previous act of transgression. Try to see another person’s perspective. Let the healing begin.

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A GOOD message to share with those close to you is to create your own reality and let your heart do the talking.

Following is a story using former Russian Olympian Vasily Alekseyev as the example. If you are 70 years old, you will remember Alekseyev from his numerous appearances on ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

Alekseyev was the strongest man in the world. He would break the world weightlifting record by a pound each time he performed. He broke the record dozens of times. He did it that way because he would be financially rewarded by the government for each new record.

The story goes that in college, a sales group would sell coupon books door-to-door and they had a term, “create our own reality.” This meant that as soon as someone broke a sales record, it changed the entire outlook on the job.

If the record was 20 books in four hours and someone sold 25, they were no longer happy selling 20. Every day, they tried to create a new reality.

The same was true of Alekseyev. He was trying to break the 500-pound barrier. He had lifted 499 pounds, but couldn’t lift 500.

Finally, his trainers put 501.5 pounds on his bar, but rigged it so it looked like 499 pounds. Of course, you know the story. He lifted it easily.

Once he created this new reality, other weightlifters went on to break the great Alekseyev’s records, which seemed impossible.

The limits we set for ourselves exist in our mind. Sometimes, if we let our hearts do the talking and believe in our ability to overcome past perceptions, we can create another reality.

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I READ about a dog trainer who found himself near bankruptcy and was forced to go to work until he could recoup his losses. After a while, he could start dog-raising again.

He found a job as a waiter in a supper club in a nearby town and after working for a few days, he said brightly to the owner of the place “I’m turning out to be a pretty good waiter, don’t you think?”

“Well, if you don’t mind, I’m going to make a couple of suggestions about your work,” said the owner.

“Such as?” he asked.

“Well,” said the owner “when the customer refuses to eat his food, we don’t rub his nose in it!”