For a former service member, the most dreaded date on the calendar provides an opportunity to say thank you.
Each Veterans Day, former and current service members receive a flood of thank-yous from civilians across the nation. In the past, these came in the form of letters from friends and family. Today, they arrive via email and Facebook and through grateful displays at parades and ceremonials.
This Sunday is another day of national importance. Unlike Veterans Day, it's a day almost no one celebrates. But while tax day is dreaded by most, it is perhaps the perfect opportunity for America's veterans to return the appreciation of the nation.
Last year, the Department of Veterans Affairs' budget was roughly $120 billion -- all of it taxpayer dollars. Billions more are spent by other government agencies on veterans' programs and retirement pay. When service members are wounded by the enemy or even in simple accidents, taxpayers support their recovery both with medical care and with compensation for their injuries. Even when they leave this world, most veterans are entitled to a burial site, a headstone, and an American flag. These benefits are only possible because the American people make good each year on their obligation to pay their taxes.