For nearly 11 years, American men and women have been fighting to protect the freedoms terrorists set out to destroy on Sept. 11, 2001.
In Afghanistan, from which the religious fanatics planned and launched their attacks, they've been at war longer than at any other time in our history.
More than 3,000 U.S. service members have been killed there, and another 4,409 lost their lives in Iraq.
Countless more were injured.
And too many of those who return physically unscathed from overseas find it hard to land civilian jobs.
Although the unemployment rate for veterans is dropping, it's still unacceptably high -- about 6.9 percent in July -- considering all they've done to keep the rest of us safe and secure.
We owe them much more than, it seems, we're able to repay.
So when an opportunity comes along to show veterans our appreciation -- a gesture, really -- we shouldn't let it slip by.
York County is launching a new veterans discount program, but its success hinges on the willingness of local merchants to give service members a break on purchases.
Knowing merchants often expect to see a picture for authentication -- and many veterans have only an identification card noting their service -- the county commissioners recently agreed to buy equipment to issue veterans a photo identification through the office of Recorder of Deeds Randi Reisinger.
The $20,700 program won't be funded by the county's general budget, but rather through a records improvement fund of fees collected by the county.
The county hopes to launch the program soon, according to Recorder of Deeds Randi Reisinger, but it needs a list of vendors willing to participate. Those who do will be promoted on a page of the county's website where veterans find a list of participating businesses.
It's common for businesses to offer senior citizens a discount.
It should be a given that the uncommon few -- less than 1 percent in the past 11 years, according to a recent survey -- who fought on our behalf also get some relief at the cash register.
If you own a business and want to do more than say "Thank you for your service," call the Recorder of Deeds at 771-9608 and sign up for this new program.