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AMERICA’S expressions of thanks and gratitude to the men and women who have served their country in the armed services are taking a welcome and practical turn.

The generic description of all military veterans as “heroes” can sound a bit glib and even dismissive. It almost reinforces the detachment between the general population and the shrinking number who have taken the oath and worn the uniform.

Veterans Day 2013 is celebrated with a growing number of U.S. employers making a commitment to hiring veterans, and, in some instances, military spouses as well.

This honor roll includes Microsoft, Starbucks and other familiar names including Walmart, Verizon Wireless, UPS, JPMorgan Chase, General Electric and Coca-Cola.

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Other employers include information technology firms in other regions of the country with substantial hiring quotas.

These companies are worthy of praise and they are to be congratulated on their recognition of the demonstrated capacity in those lists of applicants.

Corporations are discovering what was so eloquently described by Mike Gregoire, a Vietnam vet and the husband of former Gov. Chris Gregoire, in a 2011 opinion piece for The Seattle Times:

“When our veterans come home, they weave into the fabric of our society the sturdy threads of optimism, self-discipline and appreciation for what we have. Those traits are a powerful but often unseen presence in our national character. They make us better.”

Those are compelling, desirable qualities in any new hire or trainee.

Veterans Day certainly celebrates a tenacity of spirit among the men and women in the military. The holiday began as Armistice Day to note the ending of World War I on the eleventh hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.

After World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day in 1954. Nearly six decades later, the burdens asked of the U.S. military fell to an ever smaller pool of volunteers, who served multiple deployments in open-ended conflicts.

Gratitude for that service can be manifested in generous employment opportunities and more rigor in political decisions about its use.

Expressions of thanks on Veterans Day can also be as genuine and welcome as a free burger, fries and soda at a Dick’s Drive-In.

On Veterans Day 2013, thank you, again.

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